FAQ and Support

Frequently Asked Questions

General

The CLIMBER (Colorado Loans to Increase Mainstreet Business Economic Recovery) Loan Fund is a statewide program that will provide up to $250 million in working capital loans to Colorado small businesses through 2023. CLIMBER focuses on businesses that were financially stable before the pandemic but now need help to survive. It will promote small businesses recovery, save jobs, and help support the Colorado economy.

Businesses, sole proprietors, and nonprofits with between 5-99 employees can apply for loans between $30,000 and $500,000 to support working capital needs. Special consideration is given to small businesses that are underserved, are located in rural areas, located in low- to moderate- income areas, and/or located in distressed and underserved areas.

The CLIMBER Loan Fund is housed in the State Treasurer’s Office and supported by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). The State is contributing $50 million to distribute along with $200 million from private donors to help Colorado’s small business owners.

Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA) distributes loan funds through the statewide network of lenders including banks, credit unions, CDFIs and other nonprofit lenders. A small business may apply for a CLIMBER loan by contacting a CLIMBER Participating Lender.


Eligibility and Application

Small businesses with 5-99 employees that were financially profitable before the pandemic but now need help to survive may apply. This includes:

  • For-profit corporations, partnerships, or associations incorporated in Colorado;
  • Small businesses filed with the Colorado Secretary of State as a foreign entity authorized in Colorado;
  • Nonprofits in Colorado; or
  • Sole proprietorships owned by a Colorado resident with primary operations in Colorado

The applying small business must have had a 2-year positive cash flow in the past 5 years prior to February 29, 2020. Finally, the small business had a debt service coverage ratio of at least 1:1 prior to February 29, 2020.

No. The CLIMBER Loan Fund can only be used by small businesses that were established prior to February 29, 2020, and:

  • had a 2-year positive cash flow in the past 5 years (prior to February 29, 2020), and
  • had a debt service coverage ratio of at least 1:1.

Yes. Small businesses with 5-99 employees that were financially stable before the pandemic but now need help to survive may apply. This includes:

  • For-profit corporations, partnerships, or associations incorporated in Colorado;
  • Small businesses filed with the Colorado Secretary of State as a foreign entity authorized in Colorado;
  • Nonprofits in Colorado; or
  • Sole proprietorships owned by a Colorado resident with primary operations in Colorado.

The applying small business must have had a 2-year positive cash flow in the past 5 years prior to February 29, 2020. Finally, the small business had a debt service coverage ratio of at least 1:1 prior to February 29, 2020.

Special considerations will be given to small businesses that:

  • Are underserved and/or rural businesses,
  • Are located in low- to moderate-income areas, and/or
  • Are located in distressed and underserved areas.

  1. An executive officer, director, or principal shareholder of the financial institution lender1; or
  2. A related interest of an executive officer, director, principal shareholder, or member of the immediate family of any of them; or
  3. A business engaged in speculative activities that develop profits from fluctuations in price rather than through normal course of trade, such as wildcatting for oil and dealing in commodities futures, unless those activities are incidental to the regular activities of the business and part of a legitimate risk management strategy to guard against price fluctuations related to the regular activities of the business; or
  4. A business that earns more than half of its annual net revenue from lending activities, unless the business is a non-bank or non-bank holding company Community Development Financial Institution; or
  5. A business engaged in pyramid sales, where a participant’s primary incentive is based on the sales made by an ever-increasing number of participants; or
  6. A business engaged in activities that are prohibited by federal, state, or other applicable law in the jurisdiction where the business is located or conducted; or
  7. A business engaged in gambling enterprises, unless the business earns less than 33 percent of its annual net revenue from lottery sales; or
  8. A business engaged in selling, producing, or displaying sexually oriented material (e.g., adult bookstores, adult video stores, adult theaters, etc.); or
  9. A business generating greater than 50 percent of its revenues from the sale of alcoholic beverages; breweries, wineries, and distilleries excluded from this rule; or
  10. A business or organization that discriminates in its membership or facility usage on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, citizenship status, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law; or
  11. A business engaged in pawn brokering; or
  12. A business where a principal is incarcerated, on probation, on parole, or has been indicted for a felony or a crime of moral turpitude; or
  13. A business principally engaged in teaching, instructing, counseling or indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs.
  14. A business engaged in political or lobbying activities; chambers of commerce are excluded from this rule. Other organizations advocating for small businesses may be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by Program Manager.

1 For the purposes of the borrower restrictions herein, the terms “executive officer,” “director,” “principal shareholder,” “immediate family,” and “related interest” refer to the same relationship to a financial institution lender as the relationship described in part 215 of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or any successor to such part.

Eligible Loans are limited to working capital and eligible refinanced debt.

Working Capital includes:

  • inventory, marketing, payroll, refitting a workspace for new social distancing guidelines; operating and emergency maintenance;
  • current property taxes, utilities, rent, supplies;
  • making regularly scheduled interest and principal payments on mortgages, loans, and other existing business debt;
  • paying off existing debt that is due within 90 days; and
  • paying off credit cards that were used to pay monthly operating expenses and that the business historically was able to pay off each month.

The aggregate principal amount of all Registered Loans to any borrower or any affiliates of a borrower shall not exceed $500,000. The entire loan principal amount must be registered.

Loan proceeds may be used to refinance existing business term debt or Lines of Credit incurred after July 1, 2019, if certain conditions are met. Please speak with a CLIMBER Participating Lender to learn more.

Borrowers must certify that funds will not be used for any Ineligible Uses:

  1. To repay delinquent federal or state income taxes unless the Borrower has a payment plan in place with the relevant taxing authority;
  2. To repay taxes held in trust or escrow (e.g., payroll or sales taxes);
  3. To reimburse funds owned to any owner, including any equity injection or injection of capital for the business continuance;
  4. To purchase any portion of any ownership interest of any owner of the business
  5. To refinance a loan except as allowed in Section 4.
  6. To enroll or refinance the unguaranteed portions of SBA-guaranteed or other federal loans;
  7. To pay severance to any employee

CLIMBER Fund loans are offered through a network of participating lenders. Click here to view a current list. This list will be updated frequently as more lenders sign up to participate.

Eligible Lenders include banks, credit unions, Community Development Financial Institutions, or any nonprofit lending institution that has received approval from Treasury to participate in the CLIMBER CCR program.


Financial

Your loan proceeds will be distributed from the CLIMBER Participating Lender with whom you applied for your loan. To learn more, speak with your lender.

Your loan payments will vary based on loan size and term. CLIMBER Loan Fund programs are meant to be more affordable, with below-market interest rates, prohibition of fees, and deferred payments options.

No, there are no prepayment penalties with the CLIMBER Fund loan programs.

Yes, your personal credit score will be pulled for loan approval. If you have questions about your credit report or need assistance with credit repair, please contact a regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office.

Before you meet with a CLIMBER Participating Lender, make sure you to prepare the documents and information listed on this checklist.

Please note: The items listed on the checklist are representative of commonly required materials; needs may vary depending on the size of the loan request and the lender.

If you need help preparing the items on this checklist prior to meeting with a CLIMBER Participating Lender to apply, or if you have questions regarding your business financial documents in general, please contact a regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office.

Do you need help preparing to apply for CLIMBER Loan Funds?

Choose from one of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) regional offices to get started.

Each regional SBDC office will require that you complete an online intake form before you can schedule a no-cost consultation. You will be contacted by an SBDC representative to schedule a consultation within one business day of submitting your intake form.

Are you ready to meet with a lender?

Make sure you have all items on this checklist and find a Participating Lender.

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