Loan program for Irmo businesses on track

By Al Dozier

Small businesses in Irmo struggling for survival could find some relief from a new loan program sponsored by the town of Irmo and the non-profit Irmo Future Growth Corporation.

A “small business” is defined as a business with less than 50 employees.
The Irmo Town council gave a final review of the plan at a Tuesday work session and agreed to put it on the agenda for first reading approval at the next council meeting

“We are ready to move on,” said Councilman Bill Danielson, who has been working with banking officials and the Future Growth Corporation on details of the plan.

The $250,000 plan, funded by the town of Irmo, would offer loan amounts up to $10,000 for a 24-month term with six months of payments deferred, followed by 18 monthly principal and interest payments. Some loans could be “forgivable” if the applicant is unable to make the payments.

“If collection efforts are unsuccessful and a charge-off becomes necessary, the Bank and Irmo Future Growth Corporation agree to a 50/50 loss-sharing agreement,” according to an outline of the program provided by Irmo’s bank partner Security Federal Bank.

Eligible applicants would have to be located within the town of Irmo and have a business license in good standing. They must have been in business as of March 1, 2018.

The initial plan for the program is to provide 25 loans of $10,000 each for a total of $250,000.

During Tuesday’s discussion council members agreed there is some uncertainty about how many businesses will apply for the credit. The total amount of the plan could be less if applications do no reach the level of debt anticipated.

“How many businesses are we going to help? “asked Mayor Barry Walker Sr.

Town officials estimated that Irmo has less than 50 small businesses.

The program is not limited to aiding small businesses, although that is its primary directive. Town officials said they would also make some of the money in the plan available for community improvements and beautification projects in the Irmo area.