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The NC Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was a partnership of the Rural Center, the NC Small Business and Technology Development Center, and the NC Community Colleges Small Business Center Network.

The Rural Center made the first bridge loan to Derria and Barry Dixon of Dixon Social Interactive Services. The Dixons are a provider of mental and behavioral health services. They offer counseling, day treatment, and therapy to individuals as well as families with offices in Greenville, Kinston, New Bern, and Rocky Mount.

Funds for the Bridge Loan program were raised from the Golden LEAF Foundation, NC’s Electric Cooperatives, BB&T, and Wells Fargo to assist North Carolina small businesses and family farms as they recovered from the devastating effects of Hurricane Matthew. The program provided small businesses like the Dixons a short-term, interest-free loan while federal loans, insurance payouts, and other disaster relief funds were pending approval.

Flood in Kinston resulting from Hurricane Matthew

Following Hurricane Matthew, the Dixons were shocked to find their office in Kinston ruined with nearly a foot of water covering the floor and most of its contents destroyed. The couple heard about the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, applied, and were approved for a loan to help them quickly get back on their feet.

“This was our first time working with the Rural Center and it has been a beyond pleasant experience, from the quickness in addressing the need our community had, to approving the loan. We are grateful,” said Derria Dixon. Having to cease operations when the hurricane hit was a big blow for the Dixons, but with the bridge loan they were able to bounce back while waiting for their insurance to cover damages.