City funding bolsters business loan program

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Dean DiDario expects to put $50,000 from the City of Grand Junction to quick use in helping to finance businesses and, in turn, create jobs.

DiDario has other aspirations for the growing support for the 26-year-old loan program he oversees at the Business Incubator Center. “We hope it’s the beginning of a trend.”

The city  released $50,000 in community development block grant funding to the Business Loan Fund of Mesa County. The money will be used to finance businesses located within the city limits.

That allocation follows $30,000 in funding from the City of Fruita earlier this year to offer additional financing to businesses there.

The Business Loan fund offers financing to new and existing businesses for everything from real estate to equipment to operating capital. In most cases, financing from the fund is used to leverage additional capital from traditional lenders, like banks.

Since the start of the program in 1986, the fund has loaned $16 million and leveraged an additional $50 million in financing, DiDario said.

A total of 275 businesses have borrowed money from the fund over the past 26 years, and 54 businesses have existing loans through the program, he added.

The program is designed to stimulate economic activity by offer financing to businesses that might not  otherwise qualify for loans under traditional terms. Those include startups and ventures that don’t have adequate collateral or equity, DiDario said.

Offering a portion of financing from the program reduces risk and allows traditional lenders to extend financing as well, he said.