Startup Business Loan Program Launched in Maryland

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A new startup business loan program has been launched in Maryland. Qualified businesses can receive part of a $3.3 million business loan fund that casino revenue provided for. The goal of the program is to stimulate job growth and develop Maryland into a center of technological innovation.

Applicants will be approved or rejected by the Chesapeake Innovation Center while the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation will manage the $3.3 million fund.

Half of the loans will be made exclusively available to women and minorities. Business loan financing will focus on small businesses with less than 50 employees.

Business loans will be awarded within five years and are likely to be distributed within one year from the time an application is approved. Additional funds will be forthcoming so long as casinos continue to generate revenue and profits.

Rosa Cruz, Director of Communications and Marketing for the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation and the Chesapeake Innovation Center, told that the funding for the program comes from 1.5 percent of all proceeds generated by Maryland’s three existing casinos: Maryland Live in Anne Arundel County, Hollywood Park in Cecil County and Ocean Downs in Worcester County. 

Not all types of businesses are qualified for business loans under the terms of the program.

“All industries are considered except industries such as: adult bookstores, other adult entertainment facilities, gun shops, liquor stores, pawn shops, tanning salons, tattoo parlors and check-cashing services,” said Cruz. “AAEDC anticipates that seventy percent of the funds will be distributed to conventional small businesses and thirty percent will be directed to entrepreneurs of emerging technology.” 

Cruz explained that the maximum business loan size per borrower is $500,000. Applicant who have never applied for a loan before are welcome.

“We do not require that businesses be turned down by banks before applying for a loan with the fund,” said Cruz, adding that all interested small businesses are encouraged to apply for business loan financing in the program.

(Interview with Ms. Cruz conducted by Isaac Juarez)