Business incubator clients at the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown already receive great benefits designed to help them get a solid start. Assistance provided by the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) includes organized peer mentoring groups, training sessions on a variety of topics relevant for startup companies, and the consulting services of the Entrepreneur-in-Residence. But the newest benefit can immediately impact their bottom line.

The Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Revolving Loan Fund is a microloan fund available specifically to incubator clients and provides a small, short-term loan of up to $10,000 at competitive interest rates for no more than 36 months or the remaining term of a client’s active lease.

The loan fund was made possible through a variety of AEDC’s sources including donations from graduates of the center’s incubation program. Current funds should allow the nonprofit organization to initially fund between three and five loans.

“Since most traditional lenders won’t finance smaller amounts, this simple revolving loan fund allows our clients to quickly access the funds they need for things like equipment purchases while also containing their closing costs,” said Bridgeworks Enterprise Center Program Manager Anthony Durante.

“Because we already have access to a client’s financial reports as part of the incubation program, we already have a good read on their ability to pay back the loan in the time provided. And in most cases we are able to expedite a loan request faster than a traditional bank.”

The new program’s first loan recipient was Colony Meadery, which used their funds to purchase new equipment for their successful mead-making startup. The loan allowed them to expand capacity during a traditionally slow time of year while maintaining their cash reserves. AEDC was able to turn around their application in less than two weeks.

“The microloan program is a great alternative to funding such purchases through a high-interest credit card or attempting to secure a line of credit, which is often difficult for a startup business to do,” Durante explained. “We’re excited for the big impact it can have on our clients’ growth.”