Recognizing growth

It is with great pleasure that I would like to congratulate the 36 Cascade Capital Corp. Business Growth Award winners for 2005. These companies are located within Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne 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 100 percent, or at least $5 million or increasing employee numbers by 50 percent or at least 25 people.

The importance of this growth measures far beyond the actual sales or employee count. 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 equipment and facilities, 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 direct financing assistance to small companies poised to grow through investment in new equipment, facilities and human resources. Cascade Capital can finance up to 40 percent of a company’s major fixed asset purchases.

Important advantages and features of Cascade Capital’s loan programs include below-market fixed interest rates — as low as 4 percent — term loans up to 20 years and 10 percent borrower down payment requirements on real estate purchases. The small business borrower’s bank finances the remaining 50 percent of the project.

Cascade Capital’s primary financing program is the SBA 504 Loan Program. Cascade Capital is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to deliver and service this program throughout Ohio, although it focuses on Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne, Ashland and Holmes counties.

Cascade Capital was recognized as the top 504 lender in Northern Ohio for 2004 by the SBA. Cascade Capital also provides the Ohio 166 Regional Loan Program to growing regional manufacturing, distribution, and research and development firms.

Over the past two years, Cascade Capital has approved financing participation in 64 small company expansion projects totaling in excess of $104 million. These projects were expected to result in the creation of more than 1,000 jobs for the region within two years of completion. A number of Business Growth Award winners listed in this edition of Smart Business Magazine have received funding from Cascade Capital.

Again, congratulations to all the 2005 Business Growth Award winners and thank you for your key role in contributing to the continuing economic vitality of our local region.

Robert Filipiak is 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 Northeastern Ohio since 1983. Reach him at (330) 379-3160.