Athens-Clarke County Revolving Loan Fund
It is the mission of the Athens-Clarke County Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to create job opportunities for low-to moderate-income individuals and to assist entrepreneurs in creating viable, successful businesses.
Athens-Clarke County recognizes the positive impact that small businesses have on the community. They are collectively one of the largest employers in the Athens area. They provide the work discipline and job skills training necessary for residents first entering the labor force. They also contribute significantly to the local tax base. Without a strong and vibrant small business sector in Athens-Clarke County, the continued economic vitality of the area would be difficult to maintain.
The smallest businesses, however, have very limited access to the credit necessary for growth and success. Often undercapitalized from their inception, many small businesses have difficulty qualifying for conventional bank financing. Small business loans are costly to originate and service. It takes virtually the same amount of time for a bank loan officer to make a $50,000 loan as a $500,000 loan, yet the revenue generated from the $500,000 loan is much greater. Also, servicing the $50,000 borrower often takes more time than servicing the larger borrower because the small borrower needs more time, attention to detail, follow-up and counseling. Finally, small businesses have higher loan default rates than larger businesses. All of these factors combine to hinder a conventional lender’s ability and desire to make adequate and affordable credit available to small businesses.
In an effort to help maintain a vibrant environment for small businesses in Athens-Clarke County, the Athens-Clarke County RLF works with local financial institutions to provide low-interest, flexible gap financing to qualified small businesses, thereby making credit more affordable for small businesses and reducing the risks and costs associated with small business credit. Any small business licensed in and located in Athens-Clarke County is eligible to apply. For additional information, please contact the Athens-Clarke County Housing & Community Development Department by calling 706-613-3155.