Pawtucket expands business loan programs

PAWTUCKET MAYOR Donald R. Grebien and the Pawtucket Business Development Corp. announced that the PBDC is offering special loans for start-up businesses, “creative economy” businesses, businesses owned by women, and businesses owned by minorities. / PBN FILE PHOTO/MICHAEL SALERNO

PAWTUCKET – Intending to stimulate the local economy, the city is offering an expanded plate of commercial loans available to small and medium-sized businesses looking to move to or expand in Pawtucket, officials announced this week.

Under the new programs, the Pawtucket Business Development Corp. is offering special loans for start-up businesses, “creative economy” businesses, businesses owned by women, and businesses owned by minorities.

The new programs include considerations for businesses looking to open or expand in the downtown area or other designated “growth centers” around Pawtucket. Also, special considerations will be made for businesses that pledge to bring a specified minimum number of full-time jobs to the city.

“These new loan programs will help make the dream of opening or expanding a business a reality for many in Pawtucket,” Mayor Donald R. Grebien said in a statement.

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The city has set aside $250,000 for the loans from federal Community Development Block Grant funds that Pawtucket received, though the city may consider increasing the amount set aside for the loans if there is greater interest from business owners than anticipated.

The loans are available to small business, defined as those having 10 employees or fewer, and to medium-size businesses, defined as those having 100 employees or fewer, officials said.

The new loan programs feature low interest rates, the city said, with annual rates as low as 2 percent – lower than the Pawtucket Business Development Corp.’s standard lending rate of the prime rate plus 1 percent, officials said.

“Securing financing is the hardest part of starting a business,” said David Gold, the development corporation’s chairman. The city “wants to be sure that getting a loan is not what is stopping qualified entrepreneurs from starting a business or expanding their operation.”

Scott Blake is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Blake@PBN.com.