Chester County Economic Development Board details Catalyst Loan Fund

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UWCHLAN – A week after Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced $268 million in U.S. bailout funding to help small businesses, the Chester County Economic Development Council (CCEDC) is providing details on how some of these funds will benefit small businesses in eight eastern Pennsylvania counties. .

Nearly $20 million of this funding is for the new Eastern Pennsylvania Regional Loan Fund, administered by the Economic Development Council. Called the Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund, the Chester County Economic Development Council has received the highest funding allocation of any certified economic development organization in the state.

The Chester County Economic Development Council Pennsylvania Catalyst Loans will be underwritten and approved by the council for all business applicants in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Lebanon County, and Perry counties.

The Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund offers fixed interest rates below prevailing bank interest rates, and loans typically range between $50,000 and $500,000.

The loan application process is expected to begin on November 1. Business owners should start preparing necessary documentation, including a business plan, financial projections, market research, major sales goals, accountant and attorney information, according to a statement from hurry.

“What’s really exciting about this loan program is that we’re able to help businesses and industries that we haven’t been able to serve before, and on top of that we can also provide support. direct technique to help borrowers qualify for financing,” Chris McHenry, CCEDC’s Vice President of Development Finance, said in a statement. “Previously, we weren’t able to offer loans for working capital and inventory, or lend to the retail sector unless they owned their building. This will be a real help for high street businesses that would not normally qualify for traditional loans. »

“We are thrilled to receive these funds through the Pennsylvania Small Business Credit Initiative and are inspired to collaborate with our colleagues in southeastern and central Pennsylvania, benefiting the entire region,” said Gary Smith. , president and CEO of the CCEDC, in a press release. “This award will allow us, in partnership with five economic development partners spanning seven other counties, to make critical investments in local small businesses of all kinds as they continue to grow and recover from the pandemic and its impacts. economic.”

Smith added that expanding access to credit to socially and economically disadvantaged groups is a priority of the economic development council.

“We are pleased that this program, which will provide loans to small businesses at below-market fixed interest rates, allows us to make these investments on an even larger scale,” he said.

According to the release, business situations that could benefit include a store that wants to expand by buying inventory, buying equipment like shelving, and hiring more workers.

“A return on this investment can take several months, and a Pennsylvania catalyst loan can help bridge that gap,” the statement said.

Working capital can also be spent on things like vehicle upgrades, advertising, building materials, and renovations.

McHenry said the Chester County Economic Development Board is looking for business owners with positive operating histories or entrepreneurs with strong business plans.

“It takes documentation and research to demonstrate this, and now is the time to start,” he added.

Pennsylvania Catalyst Loans require a match with a partner lender, with borrowers providing up to 20% equity. Loan terms can be up to five years. For questions and initial assistance, each business should contact their county’s Certified Economic Development Organization:

• Berks County: Greater Berks Development Fund — 610-376-6739

• Bucks County: Bucks County Economic Development Corporation – 215-348-9031

• Chester County: Chester County Economic Development Council — 610-458-5700

• Cumberland County: Capital Region Economic Development Corp. — 717-232-4099

• Dauphin County: Capital Region Economic Development Corp. – 717-232-4099—

• Delaware County: Delaware County Economic Development Supervisory Board – 610 566-2225

• County of Lebanon: Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corp. — 717-274-3180

• Perry County: Capital Region Economic Development Corp. — 717-232-4099

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