DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced a new loan program to support women- and minority-owned small businesses.

Between rising delta variant cases and some not receiving any small business relief during the pandemic, Miami Valley business owners said any aid they can get will keep their doors open.

“The heart of America is small business, so you have to keep the small businesses going,” Taco Street Co. Owner Anthony Thomas said.

Thomas owns the restaurant at The Mall at Fairfield Commons. He said business has been slow lately, and this support from the state could make a big difference.

“Even though all this is is a loan, it still would help because, you know, just getting past this period of COVID, I mean, we have to get past this to survive,” said Thomas.

The first loan—the Women’s Business Enterprise Loan Program—will offer a loan between $45,000 to $500,000 to cover equipment, machinery and real estate costs. The second loan is the Ohio Micro-Enterprise Loan Program which offers $10,000 to $45,000 to minority- and women-owned businesses at a 0 percent interest rate.

After not receiving any aid from other small business relief programs, like the Paycheck Protection Program, Entrepreneur’s Connection owner Tae Winston said this could be the help she’s been missing.

“They told me that the money was gone, or I was too new of a business, so I haven’t been able to receive it, but once I do, I’m going to put it right back into my stores. It would just be a blessing to know that I could keep my doors open and I can continue to give back to the community,” said Winston.

Winston said in order to keep her doors open in the long term, she has to be creative by having longer hours, offering deals and holding events.

For more information about the loans, including program guidelines and fact sheets, visit minority.ohio.gov.