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Loans available for America’s Cup businesses

Grant Gibbons announced loan opportunities for businesses developing for the 35th America's Cup.

The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation has announced it is allocating $300,000 in funds for small and medium sized businesses looking to capitalise on the 35th America’s Cup.

Grant Gibbons, the Minister of Economic Development, this morning launched the Local Biz Opps Micro Loan Product along with BEDC chairman Nicholas Kempe, executive director Erica Smith and deputy chairman Marico Thomas.

The funds will be available to facilitate small, short-term loans of between $2,000 to $20,000 for businesses developing or expanding as a result of the America’s Cup being held in Bermuda between May and June.

Small and medium-sized businesses, including vendors and those located in designated Economic Empowerment Zones, are eligible for the funds available immediately with a deadline for applications on June 30.

Dr Gibbons said: “The product was developed in response to an identified gap in the lending market in order to assist Bermuda’s small and medium-sized businesses and meet the variety of needs of visitors coming for the 35th America’s Cup.

“This product provides access to the often time-sensitive and secured financing needed to purchase goods, services, and/or capital items directly related to generating business revenue.

“Business needs were identified during the Local Biz Opps public meetings held in February and March by the ACBDA. To help meet these needs, we have created this short-term financial product, to assist businesses with inventory purchases, cost of goods sold, service, contracts, or direct costs for capital items directly related to meeting the consumer needs rapidly developing because of Bermuda hosting the America’s Cup.”

The Micro Loan product differs from a regular loan in the following ways: Approved loans are 100 per cent guaranteed by the BEDC; the interest rate is fixed at 4.5 per cent for vendors and EEZ Businesses and 5 per cent for all other small and medium-sized businesses; the applications are processed by BEDC officers and approved by the executive director; it is short-term — repayment terms will be negotiated between one and four months with all funds to be repaid by July 31, 2017 (30 calendar days after AC35 ends); it is immediate — processing, approval, and disbursement of funds is usually within 10 business days from receipt of complete applications.

Dr Gibbons added: “The Local Biz Opps Microloan will serve as a much needed financial resource for existing and potential entrepreneurs to fund the business needs that will be arising from the America’s Cup.

“As the Minister of Economic Development, I understand the importance of continuously developing local entrepreneurs. I believe in innovative products like this that easily support and facilitate business development thereby contributing to the growth of our local economy.”

Some areas of demand were outlined during this morning’s press conference including ice supplies, pet care, child care, laundry, trash collection, transport, vendors and vacation rentals.

Mr Kempe said: “We are confident that this product will offer great value to our island’s local entrepreneurs and help to catalyse them into action with regards to being ready for AC35.”

“Contrary to popular belief, there is a great number of smaller business opportunities developing that should require minimal overhead to bring to fruition and this microloan will provide much needed assistance in this regard.”

Ms Smith added: “BEDC is continuously creating innovative products and services to assist local business owners in starting, sustaining and growing their business endeavours. This microloan continues this trend. We are pleased to be in a position to offer this financial product to help our local businesses take advantage of AC35 business opportunities.”

The Local Biz Opps Micro Loan product is available until June 30. Anyone interested in applying should contact the BEDC directly by calling 292-5570 or by e-mail at info@bedc.bm

Additional information can also be found at www.bedc.bm