For 40 years, the board of directors of the Metropolitan Business Development Corporation (METCO) has supported 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 businesses.
Today, Mayor Greg Fischer announced that the city is expanding eligibility for two of its loan programs.
“For four decades, METCO has helped entrepreneurs close funding gaps to make their dreams come true. Yet access to capital remains a challenge for many new and small business owners, especially our minority and women owned businesses, ”the mayor said. “This expansion helps us meet this challenge. Thank you to the members of the METCO Board of Directors, present and past, for their work in supporting local businesses.
METCO’s 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 after the metropolitan council approved $ 1.5 million in new funding for the small business loan program in June.
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 repair, regardless of occupancy; previously loans were limited to properties that had been vacant for a long time. By removing the vacancy requirement, METCO hopes to relaunch the renovation of more spaces that could be occupied by a business.
Earlier this year, the board of directors also approved another overhaul of the program allowing cooperative enterprises to borrow from METCO as long as shareholders or owners with an interest of 50% or greater provide limited personal guarantees.
In total, METCO approved nearly $ 3.2 million in low-interest loans, helping 42 small businesses in 2021. The board of directors approved more than $ 2.4 million in traditional METCO loans to 26 companies, mobilizing nearly $ 17.2 million in investment across the city. Of these, 11 of the 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 of directors also allocated the last of its COVID-19 small business relief loan program funds – just over $ 744,000 – to 17 companies. Established in September 2020, the program provided small businesses affected by the pandemic with low-interest loans of up to $ 50,000 to pay for expenses that would support the business. The board of directors allocated $ 2.2 million in program funds to 54 companies in 2020.
Small businesses that obtained METCO loans in 2021 include:
- Good Brothers Pharmacy, a black-owned pharmacy that has been approved for $ 200,000 in gap finance loans for the little and the disadvantaged to build space, market the business, and build inventory.
- Highview Ice Cream and Coffee, an ice cream parlor and café on the Outer Loop that received a $ 32,000 Midi loan, which helps cover start-up or expansion costs, to outfit a mobile store.
- Health Careers Training Institute, a minority and women-owned company that provides training for nurse aides. The institute received a $ 30,000 Business Accelerator loan to build and purchase equipment for a new office at 1626 W. Chestnut St.
- Lil Genius Childcare, a minority and women-owned daycare that received a loan of $ 110,000 to fund the small and disadvantaged to make a down payment to purchase 1121 W. Broadway.
- Elements Massage, a member-based massage therapy business on Herr Lane that received a COVID-19 relief loan of $ 50,000 and a Midi loan of $ 19,000 to build its space and for onboarding and supplies.
Mayor Fischer noted that since the city-county merger in 2003, METCO has made 654 loans, totaling more than $ 41 million, to 515 small businesses or individuals for commercial property renovations.
METCO administers all of the Louisville Metropolitan Government’s small business loan programs, including its facade, accessibility, business accelerator and gap finance loans. The loan program enables public-private partnerships between government and private businesses that improve neighborhood services, vitality and quality of life in the Louisville community.
METCO’s Board of Directors meets on the third Thursday of the month at 9 a.m. During the pandemic, meetings were 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.