Peoria County Government realizes its economic future lies with you, our citizens and business owners. Therefore, we take a proactive approach to developing a quality workforce and ensuring business retention by offering innovative ways for new businesses to open and existing businesses to expand. One way is through our Government Assistance Program (GAP).
The Government Assistance Program is a revolving loan program that helps “fill the gap” between traditional private financing and development or project costs. The program offers low interest loans for new businesses or existing businesses ready to expand. Funding for the program is provided through the state of Illinois with Community Development Assistance Program grant funds.
Any qualified start-up or existing industrial, commercial or service-oriented business located in Peoria County that will create and/or retain jobs is eligible for GAP financing. Owners must be able to prove the development or expansion would not occur without GAP financing. GAP financing may be used for any of the following: land and/or building acquisition, construction, renovation or leasehold improvements, machinery and/or equipment purchases or inventory and working capital.
The Government Assistance Program meets the County Board’s goal of growing the economy, but to better meet our goal, some conditions do apply. To grow the economy we must also grow our quality workforce. Therefore, loan recipients should be able to document that a minimum of 51 percent of project funds will benefit persons of low to moderate income. Likewise, at least one full-time or two part-time jobs should be created and/or retained for every $10,000 loaned.
Through its Government Assistance Program, Peoria County may loan up to $150,000 per applicant. GAP financing, however, is limited to 25 percent of the total development or project cost. This 25 percent must be able to leverage the remaining 75 percent of funding from conventional lending sources or owner equity. The interest rate of the loan shall be fixed at 3 percent below the prime rate, with a minimum rate of 3 percent. These and other terms and conditions are detailed on our website, www.peoriacounty.org.
Entrepreneurs and business owners who are seeking to fund development or projects that attract sizable private investment, have a solid commitment to creating or retaining permanent jobs and demonstrate financial feasibility and benefit to persons of low or moderate income should consider GAP financing through Peoria County. Currently, Peoria County is financing six new and seven existing local businesses for a total of $1.5 million. Financing for these 13 current GAP participants has created or retained over 300 jobs.
Peoria County Government’s promotion of economic growth through the Government Assistance Program imparts multiple benefits to the community: job opportunities for persons of low to moderate income, quality workforce development, increased new business and retention of current business. Entrepreneurs and business owners wishing to take advantage of this low-interest financing should contact Scott Sorrel in County Administration at 672-6052 or Sally Hanley at the Economic Development Council at 495-5953. IBI