NEW PORT RICHEY — Small businesses in Pasco now have an alternate financing option to help them get off the ground.
The Pasco Economic Development Council's new microloan program kicks off today. The program is geared toward Pasco businesses that cannot get bank financing because their request is too small or they have a short credit history.
"These are basically loans that banks are not interested in for various and sundry reasons," said Michael Cox, a former county commissioner who is head of the council's effort to start the program. "Our goal is to help these companies become good bank customers down the road."
The microloan program has $220,000 in startup money, including a $100,000 grant from the county that was approved last week by the County Commission. Other donors include banks, Saint Leo University and Tim Tangredi, CEO of Odessa nanotechnology firm Dais Analytic.
The maximum loan would be $35,000, with terms ranging from 12 months to six years. Interest rates range from prime plus 1.75 percent to prime plus 3 percent. Last week Cox said a health care consulting company and a property management firm had already submitted applications.
After a year, the council will apply for more financing from the federal Small Business Administration. In the meantime, the fund will be replenished as companies repay loans.
In addition to the loans, council president John Hagen said his group will offer owners advice and training on how to start or grow a new company. He said some of that help could come from Saint Leo faculty and students. "We've got a great management assistance cadre that we can bring together to support the loans," he said.
Lee Logan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.