Microloans available for startups, entrepreneurs

DENVER — The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Office has launched the new Colorado Microloans program — a special initiative of the Colorado Economic Development Commission designed to provide small loans to startups and entrepreneurial small businesses that are underserved by traditional debt markets.

“The Colorado Microloans is another example of the commitment Colorado has made to supporting economies of rural Colorado,” said Stephanie Copeland, OEDIT’s executive director. “This program will help fuel entrepreneurship and job growth for communities that need it most.”

The program is meant to provide capital to small businesses through small, character-based loans, particularly in rural Colorado regions.

“This program will infuse capital into markets that need it most and help businesses scale and create jobs,” said Jeff Kraft, director of the business and finance division of OEDIT. “Local lenders will administer the loans since they are embedded in the communities and know the businesses best.”

Eligible businesses must be a for-profit entity that meets the following conditions:

  • No more than 15 employees at the time the loan is made.
  • Documented by the lender as an “underserved small business.”
  • Located in Colorado with a majority of employees working in Colorado.
  • In the judgment of the lender, the recipient business has a substantial possibility to become a long-term viable business in Colorado that can grow to employ more than its owners.
  • The recipient business does not meet underwriting standards for banks and other more-traditional lenders.

These loans can range between $5,000 and $50,000, with a maximum interest rate of 2 percent plus the prime rate the day the loan is made. The loan term may be up to eight years.

The loan program will be administered by the Colorado Lending Source, First Southwest Community Fund, and over a dozen regional Rural Loan Funds spanning across rural Colorado counties.

Businesses interested may contact:

Colorado Lending Source, Mike O’Donnell, executive director, 303-657-4812.

First Southwest Community Fund, Roxanne DeMarco, Ddirector of community partnerships, 970-731-1300.

Region 9 Economic Development District of SW Colorado, Laura Lewis Marchino, executive director, 970-247-9621.

More information about the program can be found at ChooseColorado.com.