Recognizing growth

 It is with great pleasure that I would like to congratulate the 44 Cascade Capital Corporation Business Growth Award winners for 2006. These companies are located within Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne and Stark 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 by at least $5 million, or by increasing employee numbers by 50 percent or by at least 25 people.

The importance of this growth measures far beyond the actual sales or employee counts. 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/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 Northeast Ohio. Recent 504 program 20-year, fixed interest rates were 6.88 percent for August and 6.72 percent for September.

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 700 new 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 2006 Business Growth Award winners, and thank you for the major contribution you make toward the continuing economic vitality of our 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.