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Md. small business gets boost from feds

Maryland’s small business financing programs will get a $23 million boost over the next seven years, state and federal officials announced Wednesday.

The money was earmarked in a $1.5 billion federal jobs bill passed in 2010. And the first of three installments of Maryland’s share will be delivered in the next few weeks, U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios said.

“Small [business] credit is the lifeline of this economic recovery,” she said.

The Department of Business and Economic Development will use the money to make loans, guarantee loans and make direct equity investments into small businesses, Secretary Christian Johansson said.

He said the department has been turning away many applicants seeking financial assistance “because frankly we didn’t have the resources to make the investments that we wanted to make.”

The Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority will receive $10.5 million, the Maryland Venture Fund, $6.5 million and the Maryland Small Business Financing Authority, $4.5 million. A Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development small business loan program will receive $1.5 million.

“There’s no silver bullet to solving the credit challenges that businesses are having in this environment,” Johansson said. “That’s why we wanted to take a variety of approaches to it.”

Maryland is the fifth state to receive money from the State Small Business Credit Initiative, following California, North Carolina, Missouri and Vermont, which have split $80 million, Rios said.

Johansson said his department expects to use the money to offer assistance to more than 100 Maryland businesses, and leverage $230 million in private lending.

DBED expects the federal funds and private capital to create and retain 9,481 jobs.

“These are critical tools that we need to be successful, move forward and get our small business engine humming again,” Johansson said.

The state will receive $7.5 million for the first two years of the program, $7.5 million for the two years after that, and $8 million for the final three years.