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Gloucester County's new 'microloan' program a boost for businesses

Posted on 6/25/2014 by EDTP Coordinator in Financing Your Small Business Small Business Policy

Starting July 1, small businesses in Gloucester County will have access to new funding options for starting or growing their operations as part of the county's new "microloan" program announced by freeholders on Wednesday.

The Revolving Loan Program will offer for-profit small businesses located or planning to locate in Gloucester County low-interest loans ranging from $1,000 to $35,000 for expenses including acquiring space, inventory, equipment, marketing and working capital purposes, among others. 
Freeholder Heather Simmons, liaison for economic development, announced the initiative at the Gloucester County Library's small business resource center in Mullica Hill on Tuesday, joined by representatives from the NJ Small Business Development Center at Rutgers Camden and the Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation, or CBAC, which is partnering with the county to administer the program. 
The microloans are funded through a seeding of $100,000 from the county and will have fixed interest rates ranging from 4 to 5 percent for one- to six-year terms with amortizations up to 20 years depending on purpose. CBAC will manage the loan process, including accounting, collection and technical assistance, as well as helping small business owners leverage the initial county loans to gain additional funding if they need more than $35,000.
At the same time, the Small Business Development Center at Rutgers will work with CBAC and the businesses to come up with solid business plans, projections and other resources to support the loan. 
"The great part about this new program is it helps all of us to leverage our resources that we have," said Executive Director of CBAC, Harry Stone, who noted they've already been working with the county and Small Business Development Center to provide assistance to local businesses and Tuesday's announcement makes it a "formal partnership."
The county will step in to provide venues, support, marketing and networking, including working with municipalities' economic development boards to identify businesses that could benefit from the program. 
"[Small businesses] are the backbone of Gloucester County's economic engine," said Simmons, noting 75 percent of the county's businesses fall into small business classifications. "We're here today to provide them with yet another tool in the arsenal to encourage them to grow, hire and stay in Gloucester County."