New loan scheme targets small businesses in New Britain

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NEW BRITAIN – Grant applications are now open to fund security systems, signage or equipment for small businesses in select areas of the city.

Jack Benjamin, director of planning and development in New Britain, said local shopkeepers want to take part in the town’s business relief scheme, but that funds are targeting big-ticket items.

“We’ve also had a number of businesses that have come forward looking for small loans or grants generally focused on purchasing equipment, signage, building security – pretty basic stuff,” Benjamin said. “I learned fairly quickly that it wasn’t worth the administrative effort to give out very small loans. »

The new micro-grants program will administer forgivable loans of up to $7,500 for small businesses in the Arch Street, Broad Street, East Street and North/Oak Street neighborhoods. These are all considered neighborhood revitalization areas.

Businesses will receive 20% of the grant each year they continue to operate in New Britain.

“What we want to see is a commitment to the building you’re in in New Britain town for at least five years,” Benjamin said.

The city will administer the grants in two rounds, the first with a 30-day application period opening Monday and the second next spring in anticipation of the construction season.

Benjamin spoke with small businesses in eligible neighborhoods to gauge interest in the program. The grants will target neighborhood service businesses such as appliance stores and laundromats.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart said a North Street home appliance store was applying for a grant to fund security cameras after a series of break-ins.

“They think it will cost them about $5,000 to properly upgrade the building’s security system,” Stewart said. “This is a direct example of a company going to apply.”

Funding for the program will come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Businesses will need to submit tax documents and a quote showing how much the business will need to complete their project.

“Since we’ve been coming out of the pandemic, (businesses) have had to prioritize and be mindful of their spending,” Stewart said. “We hope this micro-grants program will give them a boost.”

Companies interested in applying can contact Benjamin at [email protected]

[email protected]

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