Chicago’s small business community has gotten a booster shot in a down economy from a small-loan program initiated by Chicago Treasurer Stephanie Neely in 2009.
So far nearly $2.9 million has been loaned out by 6 local lenders through the City’s small business loan program and Neely is looking to continue on the success of the program.
She addressed the Chicago City Council Monday on her plans for the future of the micro-loan program and told aldermen that she wanted to investigate more ways to clear up red tape for small business owners who want to take a small loan to help grow their business, like eliminting a rule that bars businesses who've accepted TIF funds from applying for the loans.
"The focus of this program is not subsidizing lending but providing access to capital for start up small businesses," she said. "One of our goals is to avoid lending to businesses that are unable move to a more traditional lender in the future."
The average small loan amount is $8,000. Across the city limits, in each neighborhood, small businesses such as bakeries, child care centers, and restaurants are creating jobs and making neighborhoods energetic and livable.
(Find out more information on how to apply for one of these under $50,000 loans here.)