Baltimore County received $1.5 million Wednesday to assist small businesses and those owned by minorities and women through the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Loan Fund, according to a county-issued statement.
Baltimore County was one of four new fund managers approved by the Board of Public Works as a manager of the fund. The others are the Baltimore Development Corporation, the Howard County Economic Development Authority, and the Tri County Council for Western Maryland, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) said in a release.
The program is funded by video lottery terminal revenue from Maryland casinos, and loans can be used for real estate, equipment purchases, and other investments that contribute to the growth of the company, the Baltimore County statement said.
"Private capital has been very tight in recent years for small businesses and early-stage companies, particularly technology firms and small manufacturers," Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in the statement. "This new funding allows more flexible financing to support promising companies."
The fund will issue loans from $50,000 to $500,000, with terms varying from three to 20 years, depending on the asset being financed, according to Baltimore County's website.
Under a stipulation of the program, a minimum of 50 percent of the funds are reserved for companies within a 10-mile radius of the Maryland Live Casino in Anne Arundel County, while targeted business outside the 10-mile radius are also eligible for assistance, the website said.
The fund was created in 2008, when the Maryland General Assembly passed a bill that established guidelines for distribution of slot machine proceeds, according to the DBED website.
The law allocates 1.5 percent of all proceeds generated by slot machines at Maryland casinos to the fund for small, minority and women-owned businesses in an account under the authority of the Board of Public Works, DBED information said.
Additional information is available on the county website: www.baltimorecountymd.gov or by calling the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development at 410-887-8000.