A program called GrowNOW is offering small businesses interest rate reductions of 3% on certain business loans. Sponsored by the Ohio Treasury, GrowNOW is designed to help small businesses obtain low-cost loans that may be used for almost any purpose, as long as that purpose is linked to creating or saving jobs in Ohio. For example, loans may be used to refinance existing operating loans. The interest rate reduction may even be applied to an existing loan. To be eligible, a loan must create or save one full-time or two part-time jobs for every $50,000 of loan money requested, up to $400,000. (Loans may be for more than $400,000; the interest rate reduction will simply apply only to the eligible portion of the loan.)

To be eligible for the program, a business must meet the following criteria:

  1. It must be organized for profit;
  2. It must have offices and operating facilities in Ohio;
  3. It must have fewer than 150 employees; and
  4. A majority of the employees must be Ohio residents.

Here’s how the GrowNOW program works:

  1. An eligible business obtains a loan from one of the many banks with which the Ohio Treasury has partnered. (A list of participating banks can be found at www.grownow.ohio.gov.) The bank establishes an interest rate with the business. In order to be eligible for GrowNOW, the loan must have a fixed rate.
  2. The bank and the business owner complete an online application for the GrowNOW program. Applications are accepted year-round on a first-come, first-served basis. The application is estimated to take just 20 minutes for the business to complete (the bank completes a separate portion of the application). On the application, the business must briefly describe how the GrowNOW program will help it create or retain jobs and must identify those jobs, including an indication of each job’s salary range, full-time or part-time status, and whether it offers health care benefits.
  3. If the GrowNOW application is approved, the Ohio Treasury places a certificate of deposit with the bank at a reduced rate. The Ohio Treasury passes along the interest savings to the business. The interest rate reduction lasts for two years, with the possibility of renewal.

For more information on the program, please visit www.grownow.ohio.gov