Jul 30, 2014
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Revving the Small Business Growth Engine

The DECD is getting on a series of road shows to reach small businesses across the state.

Revving the Small Business Growth Engine

 

Small business owners in need of low-cost funding will be interested to know that Catherine H. Smith, Commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), is on a series of road shows across north central Connecticut and beyond to spread awareness about the Small Business Express Program.

The initiative is an outcome of the bipartisan jobs bill passed in October, under which $626 million in state borrowing will be invested to promote job growth, including providing revolving government loans to small businesses.

To be eligible, applicants must own businesses that are based in Connecticut, employ no more than 50 individuals and that are in good standing of state and local taxes. Loan amounts range from $10,000 to $100,000 and are offered at interest rates from zero to 4 percent toward equipment purchases, facility expansion, relocation and working capital costs, as well as other business-related expenses. 

To apply online, visit the DECD’s Small Business Express Program website.

The department is targeting a 30-day funding process for qualifying businesses. To find out about a road show event near you, you could call the DECD at (800) 392-2122.

I asked Smith to provide information to entrepreneurs in the Patch community on how they can benefit from DECD’s assistance.

“The road show is designed to go into every nook and cranny in the state,” Smith, who is encouraging businesses to apply, said.

“It’s very hard for small businesses to get loans since the capital requirements have gone up. We are aiming to be pretty generous in this program because our goal is to get money to businesses that need it,” he said. 

The biggest barrier to economic growth is weak consumer demand, intensified by uncertain economic conditions, however. That’s why putting cash into the hands of entrepreneurs won’t create the magical multiplier effect overnight, although it has the potential to enable genuinely promising businesses to create economic wealth in the future.

Throughout its history, America’s culture of innovation, risk-taking and creativity spurred small businesses to grow and become leading international brands such as Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods, Google and Facebook, which all started on a small scale.

In 1983, an entrepreneur named Michael James Kittredge was awarded a loan by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to construct a factory and retail store near Holyoke in Massachusetts. By the next decade, Yankee Candle had become a household name.

But for every start-up that takes off, there are many more that don’t make it. The task for DECD underwriters is to identify those businesses that are most likely to succeed.

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