Something known as the Neighborhood Reinvestment Fund in Chattanooga might use $500,000 in taxpayer money on the city’s small businesses, according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Specifically, this money will help small businesses with facility renovations, equipment and inventory acquisition, and website development and marketing.
According to the paper, this is Mayor Andy Berke’s initiative to bolster existing small businesses and neighborhoods.
“In the first year, Berke said he expects more than 10 companies to take advantage of the effort that could provide individual businesses with loans of up to $25,000,” The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Businesses would have to match a percent of the loan amount, depending on how much is borrowed, Berke told the paper.
Burke also said participants will work with small business coaches such as those at SCORE, the Company Lab and the Tennessee Small Business Development Center.
Patricia Wente, the SCORE chapter chairwoman, reportedly told the paper that coaches “will go through the company’s business plan.”
“She said the mentoring group will sign off on that part of a company’s efforts,” according to The Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Burke told the paper that “when he first ran for the mayor’s office, he heard from small business people across the city that there weren’t enough incentives and help from city government.”
“What they heard about was the large-scale industrial recruitment,” Berke said told The Times Free Press.
The city, Berke went on to say, needs to find different ways to help local businesses.
Helping businesses aids the neighborhood’s commercial corridors, where people can walk and bike to work, the paper quoted Berke as saying.
Berke told The Times Free Press there are at least 10 to 12 interested companies, and the effort is expected to go before the city council soon.
“It will grow not just that business but the area around it,” the mayor reportedly said.
Berke reportedly said the program “isn’t a life saver.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Andy Berke” by Andy Berke. Background Photo “Chattanooga Municipal Building” by Andrew Jameson. CC BY-SA 3.0.