Money to grow on Featured

9:44am EDT July 22, 2002

One-stop shopping has truly arrived. So much so that the ability to offer a full spectrum of products and services for business and personal use is often what sets one small business apart from the rest.

In order for small businesses to be competitive and fulfill this now-common consumer demand, they often need to expand quickly. Shige Moroi, owner of M-Corporations, knows all about that. His three affiliate companies — M-Telecommunications, M-Engineering and M-Retail — offered complementary services to clients, but were located in different areas of Columbus.

To make his company more of a one-stop shop, Moroi set out to buy facilities that could house all three affiliates in one area. To maintain cash flow, Moroi wanted to secure financing with a low down payment. He did it with help from his bank and the nonprofit Columbus Countywide Development Corp.

Using a U.S. Small Business Administration 504 Loan and a 10 percent down payment, Moroi purchased two adjacent buildings to consolidate M-Corporations’ operations in a central location. Huntington National Bank financed 50 percent of the loan, as is typical with the SBA 504 program and Columbus Countywide financed the remaining 40 percent. The SBA 504 loan program offers loans to healthy, growing small businesses for land, buildings, machinery or equipment.

Other lending programs offered by Columbus Countywide include:

  • Ohio 166 loans through the Ohio Department of Development. Like SBA 504 loans, the Ohio 166 Loan Program requires a 10 percent down payment. Columbus Countywide uses state dollars to finance 40 percent of the loan, while a local bank chips in the rest. Ohio 166 loans focus primarily on helping manufacturing businesses grow by financing land, buildings, machinery and equipment.

  • SBA Pre-Qualified Loans. Under this program, Columbus Countywide helps businesses acquire a loan guarantee from the SBA as an initial step in the financing process. The owners can then use this guarantee to obtain a traditional bank loan. This program targets rural, women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses and exporters; and helps businesses that lack collateral or a lengthy credit history finance a loan. Owners put up a down payment of between 10 percent and 30 percent, depending on their bank’s requirements.

  • Central Ohio MicroLoans. This program offers financing for “pre-bankable businesses,” those that are too small or too new to secure a traditional bank loan. These loans can be used for equipment purchases and working capital such as inventory, receivables and operating funds. All borrowers must write and submit a business plan to be considered for a MicroLoan.

  • The Columbus Growth Fund. This loan program is specifically designed for existing businesses in the city needing financing to expand.

Columbus Countywide also offers seminars on business plan development. It holds ongoing business management classes for MicroLoan borrowers and other interested small business owners to ensure sound fiscal management.

Since 1981, Columbus Countywide has helped more than 600 small businesses obtain financing. It has approved more than $160 million in loans, which have created more than 9,000 jobs and stimulated more than $350 million in new investments in the 13 counties it serves.

For details on Columbus Countywide’s loan programs visit www.ccdcorp.org or call 645-6171 in Franklin County or (888) 756-2232, toll-free, from elsewhere.

Brad Shimp is interim director of Columbus Countywide Development Corp.