Cascade Capital Corp.’s 16th Annual Business Growth Awards Program

Editor’s Note: The Cascade Capital Business Growth Awards will be presented Oct. 7, at which time special category winners will be announced. Return to after the event for coverage of these special awards. For information on the event, click here.

It is with great pleasure that I would like to congratulate the 41 Cascade Capital Corp. Business Growth Award winners for 2010. These companies are located within Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne, Stark and Ashland counties in Northeastern Ohio.

Based on Business Growth Awards criteria and the poor general economic conditions, this is quite an accomplishment. A company may earn a Business Growth Award by either increasing its sales level or increasing its employee count over the course of its last five years. The effects of this growth go far beyond the actual sales or employee figures. From an economic development perspective, by increasing local company sales to other parts of the state, across the nation and even internationally, our local economy is enriched. Receipts and profits generated by growing area companies are positively manifested when these companies purchase local goods and services, invest in new operating facilities and equipment, and hire new employees. These wealth-creating mechanisms directly lead to the economic growth and stability of our regional economy.

The goal of Cascade Capital Corp. is to provide meaningful financing assistance to small or medium-sized companies that are poised to grow through investment in new operating facilities, equipment and human resources. During the past six years, Cascade Capital Corp. has approved financing for more than 185 local or regional company projects, totaling in excess of $80 million through its core SBA 504 and Ohio 166 Regional loan programs. The collective completion of these projects was expected to result in the creation of at least 1,200 new jobs for our region.

As a result of the recent passage of the Small Business Jobs Bill, Cascade Capital’s SBA 504 Program is back “on sale.” Loan fees normally priced at 2.15 percent have been reduced to 0.65 percent through at least Dec. 31, 2010. The SBA 504’s loan maximum has also been raised to $5 million. Refinancing of term debt coming due within the next year on owner-occupied buildings will now be eligible for SBA 504 financing, as well. Recent 20-year fixed interest rates below 5 percent, coupled with the previously noted program improvements, make the SBA 504 a user-friendly and versatile financing tool for growing businesses.

Cascade Capital’s Ohio 166 Regional Loan Program is also a viable funding option for companies investing in new facilities or equipment. The Ohio 166 program attributes include a preference toward manufacturers, fixed interest rates as low as 3 percent and loans as high as $500,000.

A number of 2010 Business Growth Award winners have received funding from Cascade Capital through its SBA 504 and Ohio 166 Regional loan programs.

Congratulations to all of the 2010 Cascade Capital Business Growth Award winners on a job well done, and thank you for your continuing role in revitalizing our local and regional economy through your sustained growth and investment.

Robert Filipiak is the executive director of Cascade Capital Corp., an economic development finance company that has provided dependable financing options to growing small companies in Greater Akron and Northeast Ohio since 1983. Reach him at (330) 379-3160 or [email protected].