LITTLE ROCK (KTHV) - There's a new round of help for Arkansas small businesses with a new loan program just taking off.
It comes from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, specifically targeting minority-owned, small businesses. And this week, the ADEC announced the first loan recipient.
We visited a Bryant business Wednesday afternoon that distributes medical and safety supplies. The two employees started in 2007 and now they're ready to expand thanks to a $15,000 state loan.
"Povidone-Iodine swabs, we have surgical face masks, nurse caps," Jackie Metz said.
Jackie Metz shows us the medical and safety supplies her company distributes across the country.
"They are going out every day," Metz said.
Lorne Gladden is her partner in a small business that just landed a $15,000 state loan.
"It was a tremendous help because we were at that point where we really needed some additional working capital in order to grow and expand," Lorne Gladden said.
Their business received this loan from a new state program working to help foster small, minority businesses around Arkansas. In this particular case, Gladden and Metz met the American Indian and Disabled Service Veteran minority criteria.
Other eligible minorities are African American, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander. You can get anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 with this loan program.
"We would like to have a more professional website with a little flash on it, be able to have more drop down menus, easier for our customers to go on and shop and look around," Metz said.
So that's on the list with this new loan along with some consultants to help with government contracts and marketing.
"All the different little pins show our different sales across the United States," Metz said, showing us a map of their current business.
Metz and Gladden now hope to "pin" even more clients.
"We're hoping a lot more pins especially in the State of Arkansas right there," Metz said.
Metz says they have to pay this $15,000 loan back over four years with a interest rate around eight percent. And she said the application process was actually pretty easy, even a little less work that she thought.
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission also requires potential applicants to go through a free certification program before applying for a loan, just to validate their business. Officials say they will move forward on granting future loans on a case-by-case basis. For more information on this program, call (501) 682-5060.