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small business loans summary

Hello all,

I got a bunch of responses to my loan inquiry - a big thank you to all who provided thoughts and ideas.  I thought I'd summarize the whole kit and caboodle, since some was sent directly to me.  

Have a good weekend.


Responses from listserve posting/Internet links
* Cascadia, and EcoTrust/Shore Pacific.  
Notes:  Cascadia information can be found on their website, http://cascadiafund.org/.  From the front page:  "Cascadia Revolving fund is a nonprofit community development financial institution that has been pooling socially responsible investments to make loans and provide technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs since 1987."
Shorebank Enterprises works with EcoTrust.  More information about both can be found at their websites: http://www.sbpac.com/ and http://www.ecotrust.org/, respectively.  The mission for Shorebank Enterprises:  "The primary mission of Shorebank Enterprise is to develop and expand the Conservation Economy in our local rain forests.  Using market demand as an incentive, Shorebank Enterprise will accomplish this by providing comprehensive resources that continually improve the economic, environmental and social performances of local enterprises and organizations."

* In Minnesota, loans/grants are available through Department of Trade and Economic Development, Office of Environmental Assistance, and Pollution Control Agency.  These would only be available to MN businesses, though.  
	Also, EPA has a page on their website devoted to environmental financing for both public and private sector:  http://www.epa.gov/efinpage/ 

* Check out the DOE booklet (241+ pp.) "Toolbook for Financing Energy Efficiency and Pollution Prevention Technologies," which should be available in full on the web.  I think the site is either the OIT website: www.oit.doe.gov, or www.eren.doe.gov.
Note:  the specific website is http://www.oit.doe.gov/toolbook/  Looks like it may be geared a bit more towards larger manufacturers. 

* Contact Scott Dosick with EPA for information.  California has an SBA loan program for Strategic Goals Program Participants for P2 equipment.  Scott's number is 202-260-9211.  

* Shore Pacific Bank 
Note:  The website for ShoreBank Pacific is http://www.eco-bank.com/index.html.  Found on their "about" page:  "We support individual and community efforts to bring together conservation and economic development.  ShoreBank Pacific lends to small businesses and provides information on conservation improvements that can increase a borrower's bottom line and the value of their business.  ShoreBank Pacific assists borrowers to: 
Use energy efficiently; 
Reduce waste and pollution; 
Conserve natural resources; and 
Optimize profitability.
"EcoDeposits(r), FDIC-insured bank deposits, support conservation loans to small businesses. Learn more about EcoDeposits(r) and how you can support the environment, grow your financial assets, and build a strong conservation economy."

* In Michigan we are preparing to provide low interest loans to small businesses to implement P2 projects at their place of work.  We will be leveraging with banks to provide loans up to $100,000 at less than 5% interest, to businesses with less than 100 employees.  The types of projects that are eligible must meet our definition of P2 and are very specific or they may be the result of a P2 recommendation from a RETAP assessment.  (RETAP is our voluntary, confidential retired engineer technical assistance program.) The loan program is currently going through the rule promulgation process but loans should be ready to be provided by the end of the year.  If you want to read about how we propose the program to work, check out our rule package on our web site at www.deq.state.mi.us/ead/p2sect/p2loan/ 
	By the way, we did research other states in the country to find out who else are providing loans for P2-related projects.  Ohio and Nebraska are two state programs we found helpful.

* Check out the EPA Region I website for an on-line searchable database of such financing sources in the Northeast states.  Not of much use to you in Seattle but perhaps you could develop a similar database out there.
Note:  The specific web address for the "Eco-Efficiency Financing Resource Directory" is http://www.epa.gov/region01/steward/e2/.

* Several years back, we (here in EPA's  OPPT/PPD) looked into this issue.  It's not as straightforward as one might think.  But, based on my experience, I think it's safe to say the following:  Do not attempt to create or promote a P2 lending program in the abstract.  The best starting point is with a technical assistance program, with the lending program being an adjunct to the former.  (Recall:  with GM, the cars came first, then they decided they needed GMAC to help a broader segment of the population finance acquisition of the cars). Since P2 itself is not a big seller, neither is "financing for P2."  In any event, one has to sell the P2 first--cheap financing in and of itself is not compelling to a business person.
	For some insight from some folks who actually do some of this work, rather than sit in an office in Washington, D.C. and pontificate, you might wish to speak with Warren Weaver or Sherrie Snyder in York, PA.  Warren is an engineer with PENNTAP (717-848-6669; WJW5@PSU.EDU), and Sherrie works with a NIST MEP in York; she, perhaps more than Warren, has worked with a loan program set up by the State of PA, as well as one by the Heinz Foundation. (Unfortunately, I've misplaced her card).
Note:  Warren responded below. 

* Pennsylvania has a program which lends up to $50,000 per project (one annually) and 75% of a projects cost at 2% (1% loan origination fee) with a repayment period of up to 7 years for projects which have a calculated savings and either prevent pollution or save energy.  The project must provide a return on investment in excess of the loan repayment rate.
	MANTEC, one of the NIST MEP centers in Pennsylvania, has a similar program, also with a limit of $50,000.
Note:  the website for MANTEC is http://www.mantec.org/.  

* Check out the Small Business Environment site, in particular the funding available to small businesses.  It can be found at http://www.smallbiz-enviroweb.org/funding.html.

* From Bob Pojasek
Many small business loans are made through Working Capital.  This 501 (c)(3) helps small companies learn how to write a business plan and apply for a loan.  Companies work in a group of perhaps 7 companies.  Banks give them money to loan among themselves after they have completed the training modules.  The first loan is restricted to $500 ( a lot of money for a very small firm).  If any company in the group misses a loan payment, the entire group gets dunned and cannot borrow any money.  Of course other group members help the party meet the loans.  The payback is over 95% where small, minority business paybacks of loans averages below 50%.  The Grameen Bank in India works on the same basis.  I have written a "Nothing to Waste Manual" for these groups to show small businesses that they cannot afford to waste anything.  They are using this information in their applications for a loan.  The Nothing to Waste Manual is on my web site (http://www.PollutionPrevention.com) and was sponsored by EPA Environmental Justice grant.  The state of New Mexico is using this model and is translating the manual into Spanish.  I would be happy to provide anyone with more information on the Working Capital model.  It has been featured on 20/20 and other major TV outlets.  They do not have a lot of stuff on the WEB but you can search.
Note:  you can download an Adobe Acrobat version of the "Nothing to Waste" manual at http://www.PollutionPrevention.com/Pdf-p2/handouts-PDF.html#GreenZiaManual

* EPA is funding a grant program to motivate dry cleaners in NYC who changeover from/ reduce usage of perc (perchlorethylene) in their day-to-day business. You should contact Eva Hanhardt at NYC DEP (718/595-4462) and Tria Case at Empire State Development (email- tcase@empire.state.ny.us).
	Also, check through 'In Business', the Rodale publication, and Environmental Bldg News (Brattleborough, Vermont). The Center for Neighborhood Technology (Chicago) has also been doing a great deal of outreach to dry cleaners, and they should have a good 'take' on Midwest financing opportunities. 

* The latest issue of GreenMoney Journal has information. Also, try www.greenbiz.com.
* PA DEP, Office of the Small Business Ombudsman  
	Our "Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account" is available to Pennsylvania small businesses that undertake such projects.  Information concerning the loan can be found on the DEP website as follows:
  	www.dep.state.pa.us <http://www.dep.state.pa.us> 
		choose:  Small Business Assistance Program  (note:  you have to scroll down pretty far)
			choose:  Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account
				Choose:  application instructions or brochure

* Go to http://www.epa.state.oh.us/opp/funding.html for info on programs in Ohio.  At the moment, our P2 program is out of cash, but might be able to restart later this year.  $5 million was loaned.