Louisville Expands METCO Small Business Loan Eligibility
Louisville Expands METCO Small Business Loan Eligibility

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — For 40 years, the board of directors of Metropolitan Business Development Corp. (METCO) supports small businesses in Jefferson County through various loan programs, including this year when it approved nearly $3.2 million in low-interest loans to help small companies.

On Monday, Mayor Greg Fischer announced the city is expanding eligibility for two of its loan programs.

“For four decades, METCO has been helping entrepreneurs bridge financing gaps to make their dreams a reality. Yet access to capital remains a challenge for many new and small business owners, especially our minority and women-owned businesses,” he said. “This expansion helps us meet that challenge.”

The METCO Board of Directors, which oversees all of the Louisville Metropolitan Government’s small business loan programs, approved the expansion of its business accelerator and commercial renovation loan programs at its December meeting. after the Metro Board approved $1.5 million in new funds for the Small Business Loan Program earlier this year. .

The Business Accelerator loan is now available to small businesses operating in any low-to-moderate income neighborhood in Jefferson County. The Commercial Renovation Loan is now available for commercial properties in serious need of repairs, regardless of occupancy; loans were previously limited to properties that had been vacant for a long time. By removing the vacancy requirement, METCO hopes to kick-start the renovation of more spaces that can be occupied by a business.

Earlier this year, the board also approved another revision to the program allowing cooperative enterprises to borrow from METCO as long as shareholders or owners with an interest equal to 50% or more provide limited personal guarantees.

In total, METCO approved nearly $3.2 million in low-interest loans, helping 42 small businesses in 2021. The board approved more than $2.4 million in traditional METCO loans to 26 businesses , mobilizing nearly $17.2 million in investment across the city. Of these, 11 businesses or projects are located in West Louisville, representing more than $507,250 in loans and $1.8 million in total investment.

METCO’s board also allocated the last of its funds from the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Loan Program — just over $744,000 — to 17 businesses. Established in September 2020, the program provided small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic with low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to pay for expenses that would support the business. The council awarded $2.2 million of program funds to 54 companies in 2020.

Small businesses that secured METCO loans in 2021 include:

  • Good Brothers Pharmacy, a black-owned pharmacy that was approved for $200,000 in small and disadvantaged gap financing loans to build space, market the business and build inventory.
  • Highview Ice Cream and Coffee, an ice cream parlor and cafe on Outer Loop that received a $32,000 Midi Loan, which helps with start-up or expansion costs, to outfit a mobile store.
  • Health Careers Training Institute, a minority, women-owned business that provides nursing assistant training. The institute received a Business Accelerator loan of $30,000 to build and purchase equipment for a new office at 1626 W. Chestnut St.
  • Lil Genius Childcare, a minority and women-owned daycare center that received a $110,000 loan from Small and Disadvantaged Gap Funding to provide a down payment for the purchase of 1121 W. Broadway.
  • Elements Massage, a member-based massage therapy business on Herr Lane that received a $50,000 COVID-19 relief loan and a $19,000 Midi loan to build its space and for onboarding and supplies.

Since the city-county merger in 2003, METCO has issued 654 loans totaling more than $41 million to 515 small businesses or individuals for commercial property renovations, Fischer said.

METCO administers all of the Louisville Metropolitan Government’s small business loan programs, including its fronting, accessibility, business accelerator and gap financing loans. The loan program enables public-private partnerships between government and private businesses that promote neighborhood services, vitality and quality of life in the Louisville community.

The METCO Board of Directors meets the third Thursday of the month at 9:00 a.m. During the pandemic, meetings have been held virtually. The meeting schedule for 2022 is January 20, February 17, March 17, April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20 and December 8. .

To learn more about the city’s small business loan programs, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-forward/local-loan-programs.

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