Block grant funding bolsters business loan fund

Phil Castle, The Business Times

A total of $500,000 in grant funding has substantially increased the amount of financing available through a business loan fund in Mesa County.

“It’s a big deal to us,” said Dean DiDario, who for 17 years has served as director of the Business Loan Fund of Mesa County.

Mesa County and the State of Colorado provided $500,000 to the fund, money from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development block grants. The funding increases the amount of financing available through the loan fund from $1.5 million to $2 million, DiDario said.

Since loans typically leverage additional financing from traditional lenders at a ratio of 2-to-1, an additional $500,000 in funding likely will leverage another $1 million, DiDario added.

The loan fund offers financing to new and existing businesses in Mesa County for everything from equipment to real estate purchases to working capital. The fund has more than 60 outstanding loans worth a total of about $2.9 million, DiDario said.

Because the fund affords more flexibility than traditional lenders in considering collateral, credit history and other factors, financing is available to businesses that don’t qualify for loans from other sources, DiDario said.

The ultimate goal, he said, is to offer greater access to capital to promote economic development and retain and create jobs.

The increase in available funding will help meet what’s been increasing demand for financing from both new and existing businesses, DiDario said. “It’s pretty evenly split between the two.”

Over the history of the fund, 377 loans worth a collective $20 million have been issued. Those loans have leveraged an additional $57.5 million in financing, DiDario said.

In addition, the Business Loan Fund of Mesa County has helped to retain or create a total of 1,855 jobs.

“We’re thankful to be able to have that sort of impact in the community,” he said.


For more information about applying for financing from the Business Loan Fund of Mesa County, call 242-4535 or log on to

Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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