HOLYOKE – The Holyoke Economic Development Industrial Corporation (HEDIC) will follow a Boston-based consulting firm’s recommendation to revamp a business loan program by offering smaller microloans to emerging businesses.
The city’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, in partnership with MassDevelopment, hired Next Street to analyze HEDIC’s loan program, which traditionally offered larger loans to liquid or established companies.
Next Street presented their findings Thursday to HEDIC’s board, which agreed with the analysis and asked the Planning Department to proceed in creating the new program.
Marco Marrero, who directs the Planning Department, said his office would begin the implementation process, which requires forging through documents and drawing up policies and procedures.
The new loan program must have an infrastructure in place, a system that can run credit checks and perform credit reporting to banks, Marrero said, as well as a marketing plan and staff.
“Now we know the types of products that we want. We have a design, and now we have to build it,” Marrero said.
HEDIC created its loan program in the late 1980s, which offered financial assistance “to viable businesses whose expansion would generate significant employment opportunities” and expand the city’s tax base.
Post-2008 financial meltdown, HEDIC’s program remains mostly inactive, with only 14 percent of assets deployed, according to Marina Linhart, Next Street’s CEO.