Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Glouco to offer lending program

Microloans totaling $100,000 offered for start-ups, small businesses.

A new program in Gloucester County will help small and fledgling businesses secure microloans, officials say.

County freeholders announced the "Small Business Revolving Loan Program," an initiative that to start with will make available a total of $100,000 for small and start-up businesses.

Beginning Tuesday, potential beneficiaries can obtain loans ranging from $1,000 to $35,000 for real estate, inventory, and other purposes. Interest rates, the county said, will range from 4 percent to 5 percent, based on 2014 rates.

The county has partnered with the Cooperative Business Assistance Corp., a nonprofit in Camden, which will take the lead in facilitating the microloans.

Freeholder Heather Simmons, economic development liaison, said the effort has been years in the making.

"We're thrilled to see this happen," she said, calling small businesses the backbone of the county. Simmons estimated that 75 percent of the county's 16,000 businesses have 50 or fewer employees.

The initial funding comes from the county's $14 million sale of 300 acres in West Deptford to LS Power for an energy station in 2011. The county bought the land years earlier from the township for more than $9 million to help bring in the energy company. (County officials recently sued the township for not giving the county what it considers its share of payment in lieu of taxes at the site.)

The loan fund, Simmons said, will replenish itself as the money is repaid. For more information, call CBAC at 856-966-8181. - Angelo Fichera

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