New Springfield loan program giving minority small businesses hope

Katie ArnoldJP In The News, News

From the News Channel ABC 20.

WICS – Springfield, Illinois | Market: 86 – Rate My Station

by Matt Roy


Help in the form of $2 million in micro-loans are now available to small business owners in Springfield.

This comes after city council passed an ordinance Tuesday okaying the program.

This is not the first time the capital city has taken on one of these programs though.

With a unanimous vote, $2 million in loans are ready to be given out to struggling businesses in Springfield.

“This is a vehicle that will help bridge traditional financing,” Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder said.

The program will be run a St. Louis financial company named Justine PETERSEN.

“With their more flexible guidelines, hopefully they are able to help individuals that traditionally wouldn’t be able to secure financing through banking,” Langfelder said.

Last time the city partnered with Justine PETERSEN, they gave about $1.8 million out in 123 different loans.

84% of them to black owned businesses.

57% to women.

And this time, Justine Peterson is partnering with the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce and Dominic Watson to increase the outreach to minority communities.

“It is going to be a tremendous resource for minority businesses and businesses alike in the community,” President of the BCC Watson said.

Watson said minorities sometimes discriminated against and unable to get loans from traditional banks.

“Often times there are a lot of barriers and stigmas that exist as it relates to applying for funds like this,” he said.

Ward 8 alderwoman Erin Conley said these loans are there as a safety net o help everyone make it through the last stages of the pandemic.

“The more our small businesses grow, the more people have jobs, the more opportunities that there are in the community and that is really the goal,” Conley said.

Just 6% defaulted on the previous round of loans.

A representative from Justine PETERSEN said this shows that the money helps most businesses survive and make it through the tough times they are experiencing.

The loans in this round of lending will have a 3% fixed interest rate over as many as seven years. They will also include a 2% fee on top of the loan. Loans can be up to $50,000 so the $2 million will be able to help at least 100 Springfield businesses.

To apply, you can contact the city’s office of planning and economic development, Justine PETERSEN, or the Springfield Black Chamber of Commerce.