Small-business loan project for Pr. Geo.'s
Prince George's County is expected to become the site of a pilot project for a new, federally guaranteed small-business loan program to help entrepreneurs raise capital for a range of business expenses, a Small Business Administration official said Tuesday.
At a news conference in Largo, Bridget E. Bean, who oversees the Washington region for the SBA, said the pilot program, known as the Community Advantage Program, is to begin in March and will offer guarantees for 85 percent of loans up to $250,000. One of its chief goals is to expand the number of lenders making loans to underserved communities.
"We can and we must do more," Bean said.
She said the Prince George's Financial Services Corporation, which will administer the program, is likely to "be the role model for others to follow."
The corporation, which helps provide loans to small businesses that traditional banks often reject, has a default rate of about 17 percent, far less than banking industry norms, said Shelly M. Gross-Wade, president of the corporation. Gross-Wade announced $2 million in new loans to five county businesses, including Auto Glass Warehouse, LLC, in Hyattsville; Goddard School, a female-owned day-care center in Bowie; and Pridgen Funeral Services in Laurel.
Gross-Wade said the corporation had funds available for more loans.
County Executive Rushern L. Baker (D) said the work of the financial services corporation fits well with his administration's goal of creating more jobs and helping Prince George's businesses find new markets, "as we look to expand the economy in Prince George's County."
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