GrowNOW Helps Business Owners get Interest Rate Reductions on Loans

Ohio Treasurer Kevin Boyce is using Minority Enterprise Development Week, which ends tomorrow, to remind minority business owners of the resources available through the his office, namely the GrowNOW program.

Since taking office in January 2009, Boyce’s administration claims it has invested more than $355 million in low cost financing for Ohio’s small businesses, and helped to create and retain nearly 10,000 jobs using GrowNOW.

“In the Treasury, we do all that we can to aid small businesses and cultivate growth,” says Boyce. “Many minority-owned businesses are eligible to take advantage of the resources my office provides.  We encourage business owners to get involved and learn more about these programs.”

Ultimately, GrowNOW’s goal is to make borrowing affordable for entrepreneurs and ensure they remain financially stable.

One company that has taken advantage of the GrowNOW program is Sophisticated Systems Inc., an IT consulting firm based in Columbus. In early 2008, Sophisticated Systems founder Dwight Smith considered selling the business to his staff via an employee stock ownership plan. Thanks to GrowNOW, he and his employees were able to use a low interest loan to purchase 40 percent of the company's existing shares through an ESOP trust. And as a result of the ESOP, Sophisticated Systems was able to retain employees in several departments that were formally facing cutbacks. Source: Ohio Treasurer's Office.

Established in 1983 under Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow, GrowNOW allows the Treasury to offer small business owners a 3 percent interest rate reduction when they link their loan to creating or retaining jobs in Ohio. For each job a business creates or retains, GrowNOW will reduce its interest rate by 3 percent in $50,000 increments, up to $400,000 maximum.

To be eligible for participation in GrowNOW, a business must have offices in Ohio, be for-profit, and have fewer than 150 employees, a majority of which must be Ohio residents.

To process a GrowNOW interest rate reduction, companies must obtain a small business loan at an eligible bank. (A list of those banks can be found here.)

Once a loan is acquired, business owners and their bankers must complete an online application (which can be accessed here). Applications are accepted year-round.

The Treasury’s Department of Economic Development typically determines eligibility within two to three business days. Further, GrowNOW gives approval preference to veterans through the Veterans Preference Program.

GrowNOW interest rate reductions last for two years with the possibility of renewal.

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