Microloan program nears start date
ELKTON — Cecil Catalyst, a revolving loan program for small businesses managed by the Department of Economic Development, is nearing its launch, pending its approval by the Cecil County Council.
The county currently operates a revolving loan program, but Chris Moyer, director of economic development, pursued an overhaul of the program, which he called “underused.”
Containing roughly $400,000 in county and state funds, the revolving loan program can be used by small businesses for facade improvements, equipment purchases and other capital investments.
After businesses make their investment, they pay back the loan over time with an interest rate of 50 percent of the prime rate.
However, Moyer said the fund is being underused.
Currently, there are just two outstanding loans with a balance of around $37,000, according to Susan O’Neill, economic develop- ment manager. The two businesses are Aquafin, an Elkton-area manufacturer of waterproofing materials, and Operative Experience, a North East business that simulates surgical procedures.
“The money’s not doing any good sitting in the coffers,” Moyer said. “The money’s been there for a very long time.”
Bob Palsgrove, finance chair of the Cecil County Economic Development Commission and senior vice president of WSFS Bank, worked with Moyer to develop the program.
“It’s coming soon,” Palsgrove said. “We have a pretty robust program. Hopefully we kick off in the next month or so.”
Palsgrove emphasized that the loan is only for small businesses, not big businesses like Amazon.
“This is for the little people,” he said. “Those 1,000 people at Amazon need to get a sandwich or a haircut somewhere.”
The primary difference between the existing pro- gram and the new program is the addition of a microloan program component, Moyer said, explaining that loans will range from $5,000 to $75,000, allowing more businesses to take out smaller loans to suit their needs.
Moyer said that giving the loan program a higher profile is another priority.
“We need to market it better” and “shout it from the rooftops,” Moyer said.
Follow me online at Facebook. com/ bradkronernews and Twitter.com/bradkroner
Small businesses like those on Elkton’s Main Street stand to benefit from the county’s revolving loan program, which will soon be redeveloped and renamed “Cecil Catalyst.”