DECD Express to Fast-Track Loans and Grants

A new two-year, $100 million Small Business Express funding program aims to keep many Connecticut companies on the road to success.

The Small Business Express is actually several loans, forgivable loans, and matching grants to DECD-approved small business applicants that create or retain jobs or otherwise stimulate the state’s economy.

As with the other programs offered through the new Jobs Bill, the Department of Economic and Community Development is expediting the paperwork process to get needed resources into the hands of small businesses more quickly.

In most cases, businesses approved in these programs are required to get DECD’s financial help within 30 days of completed applications.

Eligibility

To qualify, businesses must have 50 or fewer employees and be based in Connecticut. DECD will give priority to companies that are creating jobs and otherwise contributing to the state’s economy, such as by exporting their products and services or promoting innovation.

Revolving Loan Fund

Qualified employers may access loans from $10,000 to $50,000 at a 4% interest rate for up to five years for the purchase of new machinery and equipment, construction or improvements, and working capital. DECD has $20 million in this fiscal year (2012) and another $20 million for fiscal year 2013.

Job Creation Incentive

The second component offers loans from $10,000 to $250,000 to qualified businesses that increase and maintain jobs for at least 12 consecutive months. Loans can be used for training, marketing, working capital or other expenses that directly support job creation.

DECD will give priority to “economic-base industries,” which include precision manufacturing, business services, green and sustainable technology, bioscience and IT.

If a participating business attains its job-creation goals, DECD may forgive all or part of the loan.

Matching Grants

These $10,000 to $100,000 grants from DECD must be matched equally by each participating business and may be used to provide training, acquire machinery and equipment, build or improve facilities, or help a company relocate within the state.

Again, DECD will give priority to Connecticut economic-base industries as well as the agency’s assessment of the company’s ability to maintain its job-growth goals.

DECD is now on tour across Connecticut to help small-businesses start the application process. In addition, applications for Express programs are available at DECD’s website or by contacting the agency’s Michelle Lugo (michelle.lugo@ct.gov; 860.270.8052).

Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis and in most cases, will be reviewed and approved within 30 days after receipt of a complete application.

There are many more details in the application process, so interested companies should review all of the materials closely.

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