Cash available for small businesses

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation Board unanimously has approved a $650,000 allocation to partner lenders through the Small Business Assistance Program.

Launched in 2016, the program by Rhode Island Commerce provides loans to businesses with fewer than 200 employees that are having difficulty obtaining financing from traditional lenders. The program focuses on businesses owned by minorities and women, and about half of the 209 small businesses to be approved since the program was established have served those demographics.

“Rhode Island’s small businesses have long served as the backbone of our statewide economy, and supporting this community is one of my administration’s top priorities,” said Gov. Dan McKee, chairman of the corporation board.

Since its launch, the program has helped to create 387 new jobs and has secured $2.1 million in loan repayments.

The lending partners are the Business Development Company of Rhode Island, the Southeastern Economic Development Corp., the Community Investment Corporation, the Social Enterprise Greenhouse, the Community Investment Corporation and the Rhode Island Black Business Association.