Small businesses and entrepreneurs in the northeast are finding financial assistance from one of the last places one would expect: big business.
Picking up the slack of the banking industry, the Boston Beer Company, brewer of Samuel Adams, is offering up to $1 million in micro-loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs within the food, beverage, and hospitality industries this year alone through its Brewing The American Dream program.
Jim Koch, the company founder, began the philanthropic program in 2008 after noticing the growing community of food and beverage entrepreneurs that were making a home in Boston. As a former small business owner that could relate to the struggles of getting a business off the ground, Koch, with the help of the micro-finance organization ACCION USA, set up the program to cater to the financial needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs, which often face significant hurdles when trying to find a financial institution that is willing to take a risk.
The loans, which range from $500 to $25,000 and average between $7,000 and $10,000, are currently available to entrepreneurs and business owners in New England, Ohio, and the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania that need extra capital to grow or start a small business in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries. The micro-loans, which offer interest rates that are considerably lower than those from traditional sources, can be used to cover a variety of business costs, including the purchase of equipment and inventory, marketing campaigns, and licensing fees.
Loan applicants will work closely with a consultant that looks beyond credit scores, examining character traits to identify entrepreneurs and small business plans that have the potential to flourish with a little financial boost. Through the program, loan recipients will in turn be able to build their credit scores, which will help them in obtaining financial backing from banks and other sources in the future.
Additionally, small-scale food, beverage, and hospitality business owners in the New England area, loan recipients or not, can take advantage of Speed Coaching, a free series of workshops where attendees meet one-on-one with staff from the Boston Beer Company that will share their knowledge and answer questions about a variety of business areas, such as distribution, marketing, packaging, public relations, and e-commerce.
To learn more about the Brewing The American Dream program and how to apply for a micro-loan, visit the official website.