A proposed City of Racine program would establish a new microenterprise loan program to help spark small business development.
Microenterprises are businesses with five or fewer employees. A Microenterprise Revolving Loan Fund, seeded with a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, would provide low-interest loans of up to $15,000 for early-stage, owner-operated firms in the city that are between six months and three years old.
Racine plans to distribute $62,700 from the fund in the 2018 fiscal year, and accept applications twice per year for the program until funding is depleted.
The program still needs approval from the Community Development Committee and the Common Council, which is expected to take it up at an Oct. 2 meeting. If approved, the city would begin disbursing funds in November.
“This is the perfect time to announce this program,” said Racine Mayor Cory Mason. “As the city prepares for what could be unprecedented development, we must leverage the talent, grit, and growth potential of area entrepreneurs to increase their access to opportunities for success and growth.”
“Completed applications and business plans will be vetted using a scoring matrix that highlights owner experience, business capacity, and leverage of other business resources. The strongest applicants will be recommended to the Redevelopment Authority for final approval,” said Ben Lehner, community development program specialist for Racine.