Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

September 13, 2013

Financial aid for business

Kokomo Tribune

---- — If you have an idea that would create jobs but not enough money to make it happen, the Area Five Agency on Aging and Community Services might be able to help.

The agency obtained a $100,000 grant last year to provide loans to small businesses in Howard as well as Cass, Miami, Tipton and Wabash counties, and some of that money still is available.

The grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program is designed to promote the creation or expansion of businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue.

Businesses can qualify for loans of up to $15,000 in addition to technical assistance.

This is not the first time around for Area Five with the loan program. The agency has handed out nearly $500,000 in loans, and 50 businesses currently are taking advantage of the agency’s financial help.

Loan applicants can be start-ups or existing businesses. To apply, a company has to submit a business plan, a proposed repayment schedule and show how the money would benefit the business. If the application is approved by the agency’s loan review board, the business will typically have about five years to pay back the money at an interest rate of 4 to 6 percent.

Small businesses are the life blood of the American economy. These are the businesses that make communities run. They support Little League teams and help to sponsor the chili supper at the neighborhood elementary school.

They provide jobs for local people, and they buy goods and services from local businesses. They pay taxes to support local government.

So it’s great to see Area Five looking for ways to help take these businesses from the drawing board to reality.

If you have an idea for a business, this might be your chance, and if you don’t know how to fill out the paperwork or put together a business plan, Area Five has staff members who can help.

So what are you waiting for?