For those on Maui who want to start, expand or even just sustain their small business, they have a few well known options. They can attempt to get a bank loan, which can even in the best of times be a difficult, time-consuming process. They can sell shares of their company to private investors, trading influence over the business for money. Not wanting to deal with the trouble of either, they could–if possible–dip into their own personal funds.
Or they could take advantage of a new $1 million economic development fund recently started by the County of Maui. The fund is for starting (or maintaining) local businesses, attracting new companies to the island and, as county officials put it in a Feb. 19 press release, “improv[ing] the overall economic and social well-being of the County.”
“This is a visionary program that could become a catalyst for growth for many businesses out there,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa in the county’s Feb. 19 press release. “By providing the capital, we provide opportunities for business to expand and hire new people and buy more goods and services from our community. For every dollar invested, we expect a return in our money by way of building a stronger economy when businesses realize their full potential.”
This is not a shop set up to dole out micro-loans of a couple thousand dollars. According to the county, the fund is set up to provide grants or loans to qualifying for-profit and nonprofit enterprises of at least $50,000. Those applying for the grant or loan must also show that they’ve secured at least as much money as they’re asking for.
“All applicants will need to demonstrate a one-to-one match in cash,” the press release stated. “The cash match can come from a 3rd party grant or loan. Organizations or businesses that have other active grants with the County of Maui are not eligible to apply for this program.”
The program will run through the year without deadlines, until the fund is exhausted. For more information, check out mauicounty.gov/OED or call the county’s Office of Economic Development at 808-270-7710.
Photo: Poppy Thomas-Hill/Wikimedia Commons