Microloan fund supports local businesses in Champaign County

Katie ArnoldJP In The News, News

Champaign County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Carly McCrory-McKay and Tristan Brown from Justine PETERSEN stand in front of the EDC/JP office.

A new microloan fund to help businesses in Champaign County recover from the pandemic is up and running.

The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation announced the two-million-dollar loan program.

Executive Director Carly McCrory McKay said the goal is to help under-served business owners gain access to affordable financial services.

“We’ve certainly had some initial interest and excitement over the fund,” said McCrory McKay. “I think, since we’ve launched, we’ve fielded over 200, just sort of general inquiries about the fund and wanting to learn more.”

Busey Bank, PNC Bank and non-profit lending and financial planning organization Justine PETERSEN helped establish the two-million-dollar fund.

Tristan Brown is the operations manager for Justine Petersen. He said about 25 applicants have been submitted so far for the fund.

“You know, it’s the COVID-19 recovery fund, and something especially just from my recent clients, I’ve seen a majority of just all-in-all relief, relief, that someone is bringing resources and capital to them at an affordable rate,” said Brown.

McCrory McKay said the new microloan fund will free up resources for those who are not always eligible for mainstream financing. The fund can be used for an existing business or to help start a new one.