Roughly 40 new businesses may open up shop in Harrisburg with a new loan program that could spawn 100 new jobs in the city.
And these low-interest loans are going to be available to those who may have been turned down for traditional business loans in the past, organizers say.
“What we’re trying to do is promote economic development in the neighborhoods of Harrisburg,” said Daniel Betancourt, president and CEO of the Community First Fund. “The idea is for start-up businesses and businesses that want to expand will come to us and apply.”
The Community First Fund and Impact Harrisburg this morning announced the launch of the Harrisburg Business Opportunity Fund, a new loan fund dedicated to supporting business and commercial development in the city, particularly in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Community First received a $350,000 grant from Impact Harrisburg and a $650,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency for the program.
Sheila Dow Ford, executive director of Impact Harrisburg, said this fund will be a revolving loan — as loans, capped at 5-percent interest, are paid back, those funds will become available to more new businesses.
Organizers say fund is focused on driving economic growth and helping to tear down barriers low-income people and minorities face in accessing business loans.
“We want to see diversity. We want to see diverse businesses that low-income folks might be able to start,” Dow Ford said. “They might have a dream. They may have the capacity and the organization to do this, but perhaps because of various criteria, traditional lending institutions won’t even talk to them.
Anyone interested in applying for a loan should contact the Community First Fund’s Harrisburg office, 922 N. 3rd St., 717-920-1520, for visit their website.
“This is our opportunity to open up a market place to them,” Dow Ford said. “The idea is to really jumpstart economic development that is diverse in the City of Harrisburg.”