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Microloans to spur new businesses?

A town program under serious scrutiny

February 07, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Although not yet ready to apply for the funds, town planners are looking closely at the idea of creating a microloan program to encourage the birth or expansion of local businesses.

"What we should be doing is encouraging restaurants an stores that we want — and you can do that by loaning them money," said Economic Development Director Cassandra Acly. The money would come from a federal HUD fund that offers up to $700,000 to a community, and she noted she has seen programs that loan various amounts from $10,000 to $100,000.

Exactly how it will be arranged remains to be seen, but everyone at Thursday's Planning and Development Subcommittee seemed to agree that anyone applying for such funds should be carefully vetted. Participants noted several businesses have failed in recent years because they didn't plan well ahead of time (although others had issues not directly related to business itself), so they'd like to have prospects work with SCORE volunteers to create business plans.

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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