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MCEDC chosen to provide loans to Md. minority, women-owned small businesses

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) on Wednesday was named as the ninth and newest fund manager in the Maryland Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Program, also known as the Video Lottery Terminal (VLT) Program.

There are currently eight VLT fund managers around Maryland that receive state funds to provide loans for small, minority and women-owned companies.

The appointment and approval of the MCEDC fund manager application was made by the State of Maryland Board of Public Works at its June 8 meeting. The three members of the Board of Public Works are the governor, the comptroller and the treasurer.

The MCEDC-managed VLT program will be called the Accelerating Community Excellence (ACE) Loan Fund. MCEDC will manage its ACE program on behalf of the State of Maryland and has partnered with the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) to be the program’s fiduciary agent. The MCEDC ACE program is designed to assist eligible small businesses, especially in underserved communities. The ACE program will receive an initial allocation of $1.5 million in state funds to be disbursed as loans to small, minority and women-owned businesses in Montgomery County and throughout Maryland.

MCEDC chose LEDC as a partner since the center has an established and strong track record of services to the Latino and underserved communities in the Greater Washington-Baltimore region, with offices in Wheaton and Baltimore. “When small businesses have the resources to meet their full potential, they become a powerful force for positive change, especially within their communities,” said Emi Reyes, LEDC CEO. “We are thrilled to be working with MCEDC to provide our expertise in loan underwriting and servicing to increase accessible financing to women-owned and minority-owned small businesses.”

The Maryland VLT Loan Program was created to assist minority and women owned small businesses with a percentage of the proceeds from video lottery terminals (slots) from the state’s six casinos. Under the current statute, at least 50% of the VLT program funds must be deployed to eligible small businesses located within a certain targeted radius surrounding the state’s six casinos. Since there are no Montgomery County casinos in Maryland, the MCEDC-managed ACE program will earmark 50% of its funding exclusively to eligible Montgomery County small businesses and will work with LEDC and the other fund managers to distribute the remainder to eligible small businesses in the targeted areas near a casino in the state.