VICTORIA -- With deep roots in the community, Victoria-based Tiny Capital is offering a lifeline to small businesses struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.

For the past 14 years, the investment company has seen many otherwise healthy businesses hit desperate cash crunches.

"We hope that we can do a little bit to help them through this period of uncertainty,” said Tiny Capital associate Allie Keller. “We want to help them weather the storm."

To help local businesses, Tiny Capital has committed to make zero-interest loans from $500 to $2,500 available. The focus will be on food, beverage and hospitality businesses, according to the company.

The investment firm will prioritize loans for single-income families with no source of revenue outside of the small business.

“Tiny has owned and still owns a few businesses in the food-and-beverage industry, so we have experienced the pain first-hand,” said Keller. “We have the ability to weather the storm so we want to pay that forward.”

Keller said Tiny Capital understands that the businesses they are trying to help often don’t run with a lot of cash in reserve. For many, it is month-by-month or week-by-week.

“All of us at Tiny have lived in Victoria for 20 years and the community has been really, really good for us,” said Keller. “We’ve grown our businesses here, started families here, and we really owe it to the community to help.”

Tiny Capital has already received hundreds of applications since launching the fund on Tuesday. The team will be reviewing all the applications and getting back to the successful applicants as soon a possible.

“We hope that businesses will be able to pay back the loans when the situation changes and cash flow is coming in,” said Keller. “Until that time they are getting money to help make ends meet.”

Keller said making relief loans to small business during a pandemic is not what Tiny Capital would normally be doing. She said it is an interesting pivot to get to help out local businesses.

“We understand that many of these businesses are otherwise healthy,” said Keller. “We want to help all businesses we can make it through this period of uncertainty. We can’t help everyone, but we are going to do the very best we can.”

Business-owners can apply for the small-business relief fund here