That’s the story that Charles Blackmon, executive director of the the DeKalb Enterprise Business Corporation and (DEBCO) and his team will be telling at the 2012 Best of Small Business Expo at the Mall at Stonecrest on April 28.
Blackmon said the revolving loan fund operated by his office loans of up to $50,000 at rates that are lower than bank loans to, and the DeKalb Microenterprise Institute, operated from his office, offers training and mentoring.
“In the current economic environment, banks have tightened up and many don’t make loans under $100,000,” he said. “We are making loans at about five percent. We do loans for working capital, to purchase machinery and equipment and for lease-hold improvements.”
The program also offers operating capital that can help cushion cash-flow issues many business fail while waiting on invoices to be paid.
The cash issue and other challenges faced by small businesses will be discussed by Blackmon and a panel of lenders during the expo.
The “Why Entrepre neurship” panel takes place at 1 p.m. from the Main Stage in Sears on the mall’s lower level.
Joining Blackmon on the panel will be Rosemarie Drake, Cornerstone Banks’ vice president of small business lending, and Anthony Christopher, president, of Georgia Certified Development Corp. (GCDC). Bob Thiele, a business consultant, with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will moderate the panel.
Business people who want to learn about the variety of loan products available and how to access should join the panel for the discussion. They will also take questions from the floor.
The Revolving Loan Fund launched in 2000 with $400,000 from Community Development Block Grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Today, the funding is just over $1.5 million. In the 12 years, it has made 67 loans totaling $2.9 million.
Blackmon said the loans range from $10,000 to $50,000. Borrowers have those funds to leverage another $21.8 million from commercial banks and other sources.
Those loans helped create 204 new jobs in the county.
Job creation is a requirement of the Revolving Loan Fund, which is capitalized by Community Development Block Grant.
For every $25,000 borrowed from the fund, Blackmon said one new job has to be created.
The SBA’s Microloan Fund Program was added to DEBCO in 2003.
That program offers loans of $500 to $10,000.