Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund Application Process Begins November 1
The Pennsylvania State Small Business Credit Initiative (PA-SSBCI) was created with federal funding through the Federal State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), reauthorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) in response to economic effects of the covid19 pandemic. The funding includes a core capital allocation to support small businesses as a whole, an allocation for businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged people (SEDI-owned businesses), an incentive allowance for SEDI-owned businesses, and a allowance for very small businesses (TPE).
The Greater Berks Development Fund (GBDF), an affiliate of the Greater Reading Chamber Alliance, is Berks County’s Certified Economic Development Organization (CEDO), designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). Led by the Chester County Economic Development Board, GBDF partnered with Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Lebanon and Perry counties to submit a regional application for SSBCI funding.
In September, the request for $20 million received DCED approval. Berks County received approximately $2.8 million to use over the next three years. Regionally, the new funding will be appropriately named the Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund and will be used to create a revolving loan fund for small businesses. Revolving loan funds must be matched by private finance, which will create loans and investments for small businesses that need additional support and resources to grow and create jobs.
The Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund will offer fixed interest rates below prevailing bank interest rates. Loans typically range from $50,000 to $500,000, and the loan application process will begin on Tuesday, November 1.
Unlike many other programs, the funds can be used to refinance existing debt while providing additional capital. The funds are also unique in that they are intended to be in a position of subordinate lien to other funding. GBDF will work with local partners, including the City of Reading, Berks County Latin Chamber of Commerce, O’Pake Institute at Alvernia University and Neighborhood Housing Services, to identify potential borrowers.
To prepare to complete an application, business owners should gather the necessary documentation, including a business plan, financial statements/tax return, projections, budget, and project description. A funding checklist and other program information can be found at: Greaterreading.org/pa-loan-catalyst-fund/. Loan applications will be reviewed and reviewed by a regional loan committee made up of members from each participating county.
In addition to the new Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund, GBDF also administers the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan program for Berks County, as well as other loan and grant programs available through DCED.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Catalyst Loan Fund or other programs, please call 610-898-7782 or email [email protected]