(Photo by Flickr user LornaRphoto, used under a Creative Commons license)
You’re a small business owner. You need more capital to grow, but you just don’t have the time to sit down and fill out all those loan applications.
How are you supposed to chip away at a fat stack of 30 to 40 loan applications when you’re busy owning and operating your business — especially when you don’t know which of those lenders will have an interest in giving you a loan?
The City of Philadelphia has recognized this as a problem. That’s why the Department of Commerce and a network of community lenders have come together to streamline the process. They’re calling themselves the Capital Consortium — a coalition of nonprofit and for-profit lenders working to improve access to capital for local small businesses.
Some of those partners include a handful of local banks, credit unions, The Enterprise Center, Impact Services, Kiva, community development financial institutions like Reinvestment Fund, and many more.
“Time is a big factor in completing these applications, and small businesses don’t really want or need to fill out so many,” said Jonathan Snyder, the city’s director of business financial resources. “This is a way to reach out to many lending partners all at once.”
Essentially, Capital Consortium is a citywide referral service. It doesn’t cancel out the need to fill out loan applications, but it does connect you with the lenders who are more likely to work with you.
Snyder said aside from the Small Business Association‘s SBA LINC service, which connects businesses with SBA lenders, no city has anything quite like this.
“If the lenders are interested in working with you, you’ll have an opportunity to choose from many different lenders and many different products and you can pick which loan is best for you,” said Snyder. “It’s a way of making connections. And hopefully, a time saver.”-30-
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