Loan program comes to city

A program that helps small, growing and challenged businesses throughout New Hampshire by providing various resources to them has finally found its way to the Nashua area.

The city will begin teaming up with the Rockingham Economic Development Corp., which will allow Greater Nashua businesses to have access to more loan money than was allocated through the city’s revolving loan fund.

“I am sure it will do for the city what it has done for the city in other communities,” Nashua Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said. “It will provide more resources for the city and the community at large. They do a lot of good stuff. I just see as it as great opportunity for our community and businesses.”

Previously, through the city’s revolving loan fund, accepted businesses could borrow between $25,000 and $100,000. When paid back, the money would be returned to the pool of money eligible tobe sent back out to other businesses.

The partnership with the REDC allows more capital to be loaned out.

“Our capabilities are somewhat limited through the city,” said Tom Galligani, economic development director for Nashua. “The Rockingham Economic Development Corporation has the capacity to lend much more than we do. Businesses can use the money to buy or upgrade a facility or to upgrade or for working capital. Basically, any kind of business interests that will lead to job creation or job retention.”

The REDC also helps businesses with many other services. It offers business counseling with technical assistance for business plans, real-estate searches to help find the correct location for relocation or expansion, training seminars and pre-loan packaging to help businesses get loan requests ready for commercial lenders.

“They have been around for a long time, and I am pleased to see Nashua as a part of that partnership,” Lozeau said.

Merrimack has also begun the process of partnering up with the REDC. At a Town Council meeting Thursday night, a presentation was given by REDC members. After some discussion, the Town Council members agreed to send a letter of interest.

“We are interested in this partnership primarily because of the fact that it is just another resource for those businesses that are looking to relocate or expand to consider Merrimack to do that,” said Keith Hickey, Merrimack town manager. “We are going to move on this quickly.”

The REDC is a nonprofit organization that has been serving communities in Rockingham and eastern Hillsborough counties for 15 years.

Nashua, Hudson, Merrimack, Litchfield and Pelham were picked up by the REDC because the Gateway Industrial Development Corp., which previously served the Nashua area, disbanded.

The increased revolving loan fund doesn’t eliminate banks and commercial lenders from providing businesses with capital.

“People will come to us when they have gone to the bank and been turned down. We work together with the bank,” Galligani said. “We only want to loan enough money to make the deal happen. We don’t want to take the bank business. Instead, we just make it possible for the loan to go through.”

Besides providing businesses with assistance, the REDC also helps the community through its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. A CEDS helps cities and towns identify a strategy that would promote increased economic development and job opportunities, allow for effective transportation and help to protect the environment.

“REDC is doing everything we can to bring our message to the new areas,” said Laurel Bistany, executive director at REDC. “The partnership with Nashua is really fulfilling our mission and bringing our services into a new territory.”