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CMSC Webinar

Funding Your Main Street: CT Small Business Boost Program

Webinar Summary

The Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund is a new resource for Connecticut’s small businesses supported by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development.

With loans ranging from $5,000 – $500,000, no origination fees, a low interest rate, and a focus on underserved business owners, the CT Small Business Boost Fund is a flexible program with quick turnaround that can help many Main Street businesses get the capital they need.

It is funded through a public-private partnership, with funds provided by the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) and six private banks.

Presentation Highlights
How the loans work

Kevin Gremse, NDC

  • NDC is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides lending for the CT Small Business Boost Program. The program is public/private partnership, meaning it is capitalized by a combination of state and private bank funds. This type of loan model is active in 18 states throughout the country.
    • There are currently six CT banks funding the program: M&T Bank, Key Bank, First Republic Bank, Webster Bank, and Citizens Bank.
    • The loan program is expected to be active for the next 3-5 years. The state’s investment is $75 million, the banks are providing at least $75 million.
  • The loans are aimed at helping small businesses and non-profits in distressed areas, and those owned by women and minorities (MWBE). It’s also targeted to businesses that need smaller loans between $5,000-$150,000. Larger loans of $150,000-500,000 are limited to 10% of the loan portfolio.
    • There are 25 distressed communities in CT, as designated by DECD. The aim is to have at least half of the loans go to businesses in these areas.
  • To date, the CDFI’s have provided about 110 loans totaling $16 million. The average loan over the last 3 months was approximately $150,000 but will likely go down over the coming months as the volume of loans increases.
    • Of the 7 CDFI lenders, 4 are CT-based; 3 are based in other state but have experience in this type of lending and so were brought in as lenders.
    • Businesses can choose which CDFI they want to work with. The application is centralized through one platform no matter which lender the business works with.
  • A key part of the program is aligning technical assistance with capital assistance. In CT, the main technical assistance provider is the Small Business Development Center.
Technical assistance for businesses

Scott Arnold, SBDC

  • This loan is designed to reach businesses in areas that weren’t reached through DECD’s prior Business Express lending program.
  • The technical assistance offered through the Small Business Boost Fund is free, confidential and professional.
  • There are 3 types of assistance offered: pre-loan, packaging (during) the loan, and post-loan assistance.
    • SBDC will help applicants determine their eligibility, understand the program details and conditions, provide business templates, understand required documentation, review their loan package, and more.
    • They’ll also help businesses consider whether they can repay the loan, even if they’re eligible for the funds.
A Main Street Perspective

Carl Rosa, Connecticut Main Street Center

  • Small Main Street businesses can use the loan funds for a variety of purposes including creating a marketing plan that addresses social media, websites or setting up online sales.
  • Restaurants can use the funds to update their décor, kitchen equipment or outdoor seating.
  • Retail businesses can use the funds for expanding inventory, new equipment, enhancing displays, updating point of sale technology, business security systems, or expanding product lines, etc.
  • Service-based or non-profit businesses can use the funds for leasehold renovations, new software systems, or new websites.
  • It’s best to talk with your Main Street businesses to see what they need, suggest possible uses and discuss whether the Small Business Boost Fund is a good fit for them.
Additional Questions
  • Can businesses not in distressed areas utilize the funds?
    • Yes, up to half of the loans will be available to businesses in non-distressed areas.
  • Is the funding only available to brick-and-mortar businesses?
    • No, small online businesses (non brick-and-mortar) are also eligible for the funds.
  • Can SBDC help small businesses obtain Minority or Women Business Owned certification?
    • Yes, they can help them achieve WMBE certification.

About the Presenters

Connecticut Main Street Center

P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141

© Connecticut Main Street Center 
P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337