DECD Announces $150M Small Business Loan Program
Businesses and nonprofit organizations with fewer than 100 full-time employees may now be eligible for a boost from a newly created Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund.
The Department of Economic and Community Development announced the $150-million dollar loan program in partnership with private lenders in Connecticut on July 25.
DECD Commissioner David Lehman said banks will put up the funds and the state will match them to the dollar.
“We consider this program to be a one-stop shop for small-business owners,” Lehman said.
“What separates the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund from other loan programs is that it offers support and guidance services, in addition to the financial assistance, that helps put recipients on the path to success.”
The loans have a fixed, 4.5% interest rate, and are available to businesses who have annual revenues of less than $8 million.
Eligible businesses can apply for loans through the program that range from $5,000 to $500,000.
DECD officials said there will be a focus on allocating roughly half of the funds to minority and women-owned businesses, as well as small businesses and nonprofits who operate in distressed municipalities.
Access to Capital
“This is really exciting for me,” Schwerdtle Stamp Company CEO Kathy Saint said.
The Bridgeport small business owner said partnerships with the state over the years to fund training programs and other loans allowed Schwerdtle to purchase technology that has made the company a leader in its field.
“We have some advanced equipment here that we would not have had if it were not for the business express loan that we got some years back,” Saint said.
Since the lapse of the Small Business Express program, CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said there has been a void.
“It is great to see a focus on providing capital to small businesses,” DiPentima said.
“The success of small businesses directly correlates with Connecticut’s economic vitality as a whole.
“It’s important to give small businesses the resources like this to help them grow and stay competitive, especially given the burdens businesses already face operating in Connecticut.”
DiPentima said it is especially important to see local banks committing to this initiative.
HEDCO, Capital for Change, the Southeastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, M&T Bank, and Citizens are among the lenders and sponsors who are participating in the program.
“We recognize that small businesses are the backbone of our local economies,” M&T Bank Bridgeport Regional President Frank Micalizzi said.
“Too often small businesses and not-for-profits lack affordable access to capital that is flexible.”
Once administrators of the program go through applications, they will match businesses with the lenders and banks for funds and technical assistance.
Interested business owners can apply online.
DECD officials said they intend to fund the loans within two to four weeks.
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