Growth leaders

It is with great pleasure that I would like to congratulate the 32 Cascade Capital Corp. Business Growth Award winners for 2009. These companies are located within Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne, Stark and Ashland counties in Northeast Ohio.

Based on the Business Growth Awards criteria, this is quite an accomplishment. A company may earn a Business Growth Award by either increasing its sales level by at least 100 percent or $5 million or increasing its employees by at least 50 percent or 25 people.

The importance of this growth measures far beyond the actual sales or employee figures. From an economic development perspective, increasing local company sales to other parts of the state, across the nation and even internationally enriches the local economy.

Receipts and profits generated by growing area companies are positively manifested when these companies purchase local goods and services, invest in additional facilities and equipment, and hire new employees.

These wealth-creating mechanisms directly lead to economic growth and the stability of our regional economy. This degree of economic impact is especially important as we continue to recover from a recession.

The goal of Cascade Capital Corp. is to provide meaningful financing assistance to small and medium-sized companies poised to grow through investment in new operating facilities, equipment and human resources. Over the course of the past five years, Cascade Capital Corp. has approved financing for more than 150 local and regional company projects totaling in excess of $70 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 nearly 1,000 new jobs for our region.

Cascade Capital’s SBA 504 Program is currently “on sale.” Loan fees normally priced at 2.15 percent have been reduced to 0.65 percent through Dec. 31, 2009. Fixed interest rates on 20-year SBA 504’s have been as low as 5.24 percent over the past few months as well. Ten percent borrower down payments (in most cases) on major fixed-asset purchases remain the SBA 504 Program standard.

Cascade Capital’s Ohio 166 Regional Loan Program is also a solid funding option for companies investing in new facilities or equipment. Though the Ohio 166 program does require a shared security position with project bank lenders on project assets financed, a current fixed interest rate of 3 percent provides motivation for companies to utilize the program and invest now. A number of 2009 Cascade Capital Business Growth Award winners have received funding from Cascade Capital in the past through either the SBA 504 or Ohio 166 Regional loan programs.

Congratulations to all of the 2009 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].