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Rawlings-Blake touts microloan program

A small business loan program in Baltimore has made $45,000 microloans to two local businesses in Hampden, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Wednesday.

The BaltimoreMICRO program has helped The Charmery ice cream shop and owners of the Lucky Cup Espresso Coffee Truck open for business recently, the mayor said.

Funded with $375,000 from donations from the city and state and administered by the Baltimore Development Corp., the microloan program is focused on helping small and local, minority and women-owned businesses obtain needed capital to open their doors.

“I am committed to making sure Baltimore is a welcoming environment for small businesses,” said Rawlings-Blake, in a statement. “When they thrive and prosper, our economy is stronger. I created BaltimoreMICRO to assist small businesses that are unable to secure loans through traditional financing. As we move forward, my administration will continue to take steps that make opportunities for growth even more accessible to small businesses.”

The BaltimoreMICRO program works from a micro revolving loan fund established to provide gap financing when access to credit is limited. Applicants must have a credit score of 650 or higher and show that their businesses will help to grow and create jobs.

Loans range from $5,000 to $30,000 with interest rates up to 8 percent.