Jeanne Boyle | Director of commerce, city of Pawtucket
1. Tell us about the purpose of the expansion of the Pawtucket Business Development Corp. commercial loan program. Why now? The corporation works very closely with the city to assist existing local businesses and attract new businesses. A loan program has existed for some time, but the PBDC has expanded the options and types of loans, as well as the marketing of their availability. The PBDC wants to be sure that getting a loan is not what is stopping qualified entrepreneurs from starting a business or expanding their operation.
2. How will Pawtucket try to direct the funds to businesses in growth centers around the city? Pawtucket has laid the foundation for incredible success in the coming years. The city’s financials are on solid ground, investments are being made in infrastructure, beautification and schools, [and] funding was secured for a train station stop opening in 2021. The PBDC, Pawtucket Redevelopment Agency and others are prepared to assist the city in attracting businesses to the area around these critical projects in the downtown.
3. What kinds of businesses are you interested in helping to grow? This loan program is targeting startup businesses, creative economy businesses, women- and minority-owned businesses, and businesses looking to open or expand into the downtown or designated “Growth Center.”
4. What are the benefits to business owners in going through this program? Businesses owners will be able to secure funding expeditiously and also have access to our staff to assist in planning and zoning approvals, connection to local banks and the Small Business Development Center. In Pawtucket, we try to cut red tape and provide that customer service and mentorship that local businesses and entrepreneurs deserve. These new programs feature low interest rates, with annual rates as low as 2 percent.
5. Give us a few examples of who has already received grants to expand and how has it helped the city tax base? The Isle Brewers Guild, home to Narragansett Beer and over five other brewing operations, received a PBDC loan in addition to other funding opportunities. This year they are expanding, adding a beer hall and event space. Sarabella Jewelers is a nationally known jewelry maker and designer who relocated to Pawtucket and renovated a historic home for their office space.
Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at Macdonald@PBN.com.