After she and her husband invested over $70,000 into their start-up car detailing business, Rolling Clean Car Wash, Denise Buckman-Morris and her husband Kevin Morris were almost ready to open their doors.
But they realized they needed some working capital to get the operation off the ground. Having been members of the North Side Community Federal Credit Union in Uptown for several years, they became aware of the new Small Business Development Fund (SBDF).
Last month, they closed on a $15,000 loan to help with marketing, salary and general operation costs for the business, located at 5817 W. Corcoran St.
North Side’s new SBDF allows entrepreneurs the funding to help start a business or expand an existing business. Earlier this year, North Side received funds from the Chicago treasurer’s office to offer locally-based small businesses micro loans. North Side is one of six lending institutions that has partnered with the city treasurer’s office.
An existing business can borrow up to $35,000, while a start-up operation can qualify for up to $15,000. Typically, these loans are used for build out, working capital and for acquiring machinery, tools and inventory. The loan term is up to five years at a prime +2 percent interest rate. In June, the rate was 5.25 percent.
“This loan allowed us to get a great jump start on the business and provide some cushion to fall back on. It’s a great program because it helps start small businesses when they can’t get help elsewhere,” Buckman-Morris said.
She projects the loan will enable the hiring of 10 full-time and 13 part-time employees, and provide opportunities and training in a community that has high unemployment and a need for business investment.
“Job creation and retention are key elements that we look for in a loan application,” said Jennifer Sierecki, manager and CEO of North Side. “Small business growth is vital in developing and sustaining our communities.
North Side is reaching out to Chicago neighborhood chambers of commerce and community development organizations to help spread the word about the new loan fund. As a collaborating partner, the Jane Addams Small Business Development Center provides technical assistance for prospective borrowers.
Prospective applicants can download an application here, then fax, scan and email, or drop it off at the credit union at 1011 W. Lawrence Ave. or at its two branches-in-residence (Rogers Park and Lakeview).
Once pre-qualified, the applicant will be asked to provide additional documentation, including a business plan, cash flow projections and personal tax returns, for the full loan application. A decision will be made within 10 to 15 business days. For more information call Tom Laures, small business loan officer at 773-769-5800, ext. 225.