Governor Ned Lamont today announced the launch of the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund, a public-private partnership that provides low-interest loans to small businesses and nonprofits in Connecticut. Applications are now being accepted for loans ranging from $5,000 to $500,000.
The program is aimed at helping small businesses and nonprofits, particularly those in low-income and historically underserved communities, with access to flexible working capital. The loans have a fixed, 4.5% interest rate and are available to eligible small businesses and nonprofits with operations in Connecticut that have 100 or fewer full-time employees and annual revenues of less than $8 million.
“We’re thrilled to launch the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund, a new collaboration with private sector partners and investors that will provide companies and nonprofits the working capital they need to grow and thrive,” Governor Lamont said. “This fund was established to support small business owners who may have previously experienced barriers to accessing financial support and works with and through community lenders that are dedicated to equitable lending practices.”
The state is making a foundational investment of $75 million into this public-private partnership, which aims to lend $150 million or more to eligible business and nonprofits. The goal is for the fund to become self-sustaining as more private funds are invested.
Small businesses and nonprofits can apply online at CTSmallBusinessBoostFund.org, and if they qualify, they will be matched with a lender. Once matched, the participating lender will assist the business owner throughout the application process. This lending model has previously found success in programs based in California, New York, and Washington state.
The fund works with and through local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and lenders that have decades of experience serving historically under-resourced and underbanked communities. The following CDFIs are participating in the program:
- Capital for Change
- NDC Community Impact Loan Fund
- Southeastern CT Enterprise Region (SeCTer)
It is administered by the National Development Council (NDC) with funding arranged by Calvert Impact Capital. In addition to funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), initial funding has been provided by Citizens Bank, M&T Bank, and First Republic Bank.
“We consider this program to be a one-stop shop for small-business owners,” DECD Commissioner David Lehman said. “What separates the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund from other loan programs is that it offers support and guidance services, in addition to the financial assistance, that helps put recipients on the path to success.”
“At M&T we recognize that small businesses are the backbone of our local economies, especially in underserved and diverse communities,” Michael Weinstock, M&T Bank regional president for Hartford, said. “That’s why we’re proud to be joining the Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund to support small businesses and nonprofits that too often lack access to affordable, flexible credit. Our focus as a community bank has always been on providing resources that financially empower our customers. This partnership is another important action we are taking to further that mission.”
“As part of Citizens’ Economic Opportunity Funds initiative, this effort will harness the bank’s resources to help drive real and lasting progress for small businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Connecticut community,” Reza Aghamirzadeh, head of community development at Citizens Bank, said. “Creating access to capital and thus improving opportunity for those in the communities we serve represents a further step toward achieving necessary change in a way that aligns strongly with our values.”
For more information and to apply, visit CTSmallBusinessBoostFund.org.