Charleston-area organizations get cash for small businesses

Staff Report
Published Oct. 19, 2011

Two Charleston-area community organizations have received nearly $1.4 million in a federal program designed to give businesses access to more capital.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury said the money is part of the final wave of funding provided through the Small Business Lending Fund, which was established as part of the Small Business Jobs Act.        

Charleston Citywide Local Development Corp. received $1 million in the round of funding, and Lowcountry Housing Trust Inc. in North Charleston received $392,000.

The Local Development Corp. provides small business loans in Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton and Dorchester counties.

Lowcountry Housing Trust Assistant Director Patrick King said his organization will loan the money to small businesses that are working on affordable housing projects to provide money for raw materials.

“It’s basically going to be working capital loans to our developers for affordable housing,” King said. “We’re not doing small business loans for your typical retail or your typical small business.”

King said that there’s a vacuum for small business loans in the conventional lending industry, and that developers seem to have been hit particularly hard during the recession in gaining access to upfront capital.

Overall, five South Carolina-based community organizations $30.5 million in Small Business Lending Fund funding, the Treasury said in a news release.

“Billions of dollars in SBLF funds are now being put to use in communities all across the nation, spurring small business growth and job creation,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal S. Wolin said in a statement.

The act encourages community banks and organizations to increase lending to small businesses. The Treasury Department said the goal is to help companies expand operations and create new jobs.

The Treasury Department said that small businesses employ roughly one-half of all Americans and account for about 60% of the nation’s job creation but that small-business owners have faced disproportionate challenges in the aftermath of the recession and credit crisis, including difficulty accessing capital.

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