Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. Readies Launch of Loan Fund
January 12, 2012
Pasco County, Florida — The Pasco Economic Development Council, Inc. is taking a bold step to help small businesses in Pasco County. It is rolling out a small business microloan fund to help local entrepreneurs.
“Our goal has been to raise $250,000 to help Pasco County’s new and early stage small businesses expand and create jobs,” said Michael Cox, who is leading the Pasco EDC effort. “We have been working on this for several months and are definitely making progress. We think we will be in a position to start lending in 90 days—or less,” noted Cox, who is an Associate Vice President with Wells Fargo Advisors.
In addition to helping finance business ideas, the program will include training to help small business owners succeed. “Each year small businesses begin and create some jobs but half of them fail within the first few years,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. According to the Small Business Administration, the nation’s 23 million small businesses create 75% of the nation’s net new jobs and employ half of all private-sector workers. “Two big reasons for small business failures are lack of money and limited business experience. Our program addresses both of these challenges,” said Hagen.
The program will add to the County’s already business-friendly environment for entrepreneurs. The Pasco County Board of County Commissioners is ready to help with $100,000 to fund the program and the Pasco EDC has already committed $50,000. “Pasco County is made up of small businesses and it is important, especially in this economy, that we do what we can to help small business grow,” said County Commissioner Ted Schrader, “I encourage the private sector to partner with us and help with this project.” The Pasco EDC is actively looking for community leaders and businesses that will also donate money to build the fund.
The loan program will lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County. “We expect our average loan to be about $10,000 to $15,000,” said Cox. Applicants must be for-profit companies located in Pasco County, and borrowers must show they have the experience and resources to be successful business operators. Proceeds may be used for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture, fixtures, machinery and equipment, but not to purchase real estate or to refinance existing debt. In addition to financing, entrepreneurs will also receive free technical assistance to help work through challenges and capture opportunities. Please call the Pasco EDC at 813-926-0827 for more information or to consider a donation to the fund.
Pasco EDC is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development in Pasco County, Florida. Pasco EDC continues to be a strong partnership funded by corporate and public investors focused on the economic vitality of Pasco County.