However, there is an alternative that already has proven to be a lifesaver for many area businesses, and which still has money to lend at very attractive rates. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded $8 million capitalize a new revolving loan fund, the Capital Region Advancement Fund, to immediately assist businesses in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, and Rensselaer counties who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Advancement Fund saved my business!” says Captain Marla Hodge, who owns Mohawk Maiden Cruises in Schuylerville along with her wife, Captain Maria Saavedra. The cruise line’s two vessels, the 25-plus passenger paddlewheeler Caldwell Belle and the 6 passenger pontoon Mohawk Maiden, had been sidelined most of 2020 due to the government imposed business shutdowns. “As a seasonal venue, it was very difficult to get a foot in the door of all of these programs,” says Captain Marla. “Because I was able to deal with a person who cared [Director, Business Lending John Skrobela], I was guided through a painless process that enabled me to obtain the funds needed to perform needed repairs on our vessel and get ready to reopen in 2021, with a good chance to get back on our feet.”
The Capital Region Advancement Fund provides low interest working capital loans to help stabilize local business operations and retain employment. Loans can range from $25,000 – $500,000. The interest rate is 1.5%. Businesses who received SBA Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) loans are encouraged to apply if they need additional capital.
The Capital Region Advancement Fund is managed by the Capital Region Chamber. A full description of the program, along with eligibility requirements and inquiry form can be found at capitalregionadvancementfund.com.
Written by Pete Bardunias, Senior Vice President, Community Advancement, Capital Region Chamber