Boulder Microloan Fund Offers New Loans To Small Businesses

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August 17, 2011


Clif Harald, Boulder Economic Council, 303-442-1044

Liz Hanson, Economic Vitality Coordinator, 303-441-3287

Patrick von Keyserling, Media Relations, 303-441-4959


Boulder Microloan Fund Offers New Loans to Small Businesses
A collaboration of public and private partners announced a new round of loan capital for small businesses in Boulder through the successful Boulder Microloan Fund.  First offered in 2009 to respond to shortages of capital available to small businesses in the Boulder market, the first round of Microloan Fund capital was fully loaned out.  Additional capital has now been raised to expand the Fund’s capacity to make small business loans.
The City of Boulder, FirstBank, and the Colorado Enterprise Fund are contributing a total of $250,000 to expand the Fund to a total of $575,000. The city’s portion was $100,000. The Boulder Microloan Fund was established with contributions from the City of Boulder, Wells Fargo Bank, US Bank, First National Bank of Colorado and Colorado Enterprise Fund.
The Fund extends loans of up to $50,000 to businesses and nonprofit organizations with annual gross revenues of less than $2 million per year.  Loans may be used for a variety of purposes, but the focus is on providing general working capital. As loans get paid back, the capital is available to lend out again to other businesses.  Since its inception, about $180,000 has been repaid and loaned out again to eight additional businesses.
“Expanding the capacity of the Boulder Microloan Fund will enable us to broaden our impact,” said Ceyl Prinster, president and CEO of the Colorado Enterprise Fund, a nonprofit lending organization that manages the Boulder Microloan Fund.  “So far, the Fund has benefited a wide variety of Boulder businesses, including a restaurant, ice cream maker, a book publisher and a childcare provider, among others.”
As one of the early Fund success stories, Boulder Ice Cream, used its loan to purchase equipment.  “The Microloan Fund loan enabled us to buy a homogenizer that we had previously been renting,” said President of Boulder Ice Cream Scott Roy.  “This reduced our cash needs for this equipment by 50 percent.”
According to Founder and Publisher of Paradigm Publishers Dean Birkenkamp, , another successful loan recipient, “Funds from Boulder Microloan Fund and Colorado Enterprise Fund helped our company develop several additional college textbooks that have now been published and are being used by students and professors nationwide.  This helped sustain Paradigm Publishers' growth in a challenging economy.”
 “This Microloan Fund is something we agree is needed in the community,” said Boulder President of FirstBank Jim Hall,. “Banks are still cautious right now and we feel there are a number of good businesses that are just slightly outside our parameters that could access this capital to stabilize operations or take advantage of new opportunities to grow.  As businesses build their financial track record and credit standing, they can move to more traditional loans.”
Boulder’s City Manager Jane Brautigam  stated that this is an important element of the city’s Economic Vitality Program.  “The city is contributing to this fund to help stabilize and grow Boulder’s small business community,” said Brautigam. 
According to the Boulder Economic Council, the City of Boulder has over 6,500 employers, of which approximately 75 percent have 10 or fewer employees.  The Fund requires that 80 percent of the dollars be loaned to businesses or nonprofits with their primary offices located in the city of Boulder.
“The successes of the first round of the Microloan Fund encouraged us to continue supporting small businesses in Boulder this way,” said Economic Vitality Coordinator for the City of Boulder Liz Hanson.
The city’s Economic Vitality Program includes business incentives programs and the Flexible Rebate Program, which is available to local primary employers expanding and/or relocating within Boulder.
For more information or to apply for a loan, contact Lewis Hagler of the Colorado Enterprise Fund at 720-473-4055 or lewis@coloradoenterprisefund.org.  The Small Business Development Center at the Boulder Chamber is available to provide counseling and classes to assist businesses with effective financial management.  The Boulder Economic Council provides program coordination, recruitment of contributors and marketing support. Colorado Enterprise Fund is a nonprofit community development financial institution that provides loans and capacity-building support to businesses across the State of Colorado. 
For more information about the city’s Economic Vitality Program, go to www.bouldercolorado.gov, click on "Business," or call Liz Hanson at 303-441-3287.
Clif Harald, Executive Director

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