Loans are available for small businesses - Yahoo News

Aug. 16—ELIZABETHTOWN — Anyone looking to start a new small business or grow an existing one in Bladen County might be eligible for a loan through Bladen's Bloomin' Agri-Industrial, thanks to a sizeable contribution from the Bladen County Board of Commissioners recently.
Last month, the county approved a total of $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act monies to be given to Bladen's Bloomin' in an effort to spark small business loans.
"Bladen's Bloomin' has been doing small business loans for 30-plus years," said Bladen County Economic Development Director Chuck Heustess, "but historically, they have been for industrial development."
He added that, over the last 20 years or so, economic development has morphed into different things in different areas, and attracting small businesses are now a big effort.
With the money received from the county's ARPA funds, Bladen's Bloomin' will now be offering small business loans up to $50,000 — though Heustess said most of the loans will be $25,000 or less.
"I'm thinking we will be giving more of the $5,000 and $10,000 loans, he said.
"The county has been getting more into the small business area, and this is a dabble into that effort," Heustess added.
The loans will be steered toward female- and minority-owned businesses, those going into a downtown revitalization effort and those that are for high-demand service groups like plumbers and electricians.
Heustess said the loans will be longer than those offered by commercial entities and will have fixed rates.
"We want to start up and grow small business, not maximize profit," Heustess said.
Applications, which initially will be requested in letter form, are available now by calling 910-645-2292 or emailing to edc@bladenco.org.
"The initial step is very brief with basic information to start," Heustess said. "The (Economic Development Board) may request additional information later.
"I think we will find out a lot more with a letter of application than a straight question and answer application," he added.
As applications are received, the board will review each one individually before making a decision.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or cvincent@bladenjournal.com.
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