LISBON — Local businesses that need a bit more capital to complete a project could potentially benefit from a loan program being considered by the Port Authority of Columbiana County.
The council has approved a request from Port Authority executive director Penny Traina to develop a pilot business loan scheme, which she says could be used to help local industry and businesses in need only a small loan to cover the difference between what they have in savings, what they can get in bank loans and what they can get in grants.
“We just hope to fill that gap,” Traina said.
After the meeting, Traina said it’s not uncommon for well-established businesses to approach the Port Authority to ask about possible sources of funding for a project such as an equipment upgrade or expansion. However, many projects are simply not eligible for government money and this loan could be the difference between a company’s ability to install innovative equipment or bankruptcy. Loans would last no longer than five years and smaller sums of money, Traina said.
With board approval, Traina will begin creating the pilot program. Companies receiving the money would be carefully vetted before the loan is finally approved by the board.
In other matters before the Board:
– Brittany Smith, who is Port Authority Grants Coordinator and Financial Assistant, reported partnering with the Mahoning Valley Manufacturers Coalition and Columbiana County ESC to apply for funding through the Port Authority’s Industry Partnership Program. Ohio Department of Development. Local organizations were selected as one of 13 statewide to receive $250,000 in funding to be used for outreach efforts to underrepresented populations in manufacturing.
According to Smith, the goal of the partnership for the program is to meet the demand for a well-educated and diverse workforce for the region.
– The board approved the award of a tender to Guy’s Mechanical Systems Inc., of Rochester, Pennsylvania, to perform HVAC upgrades to the Leetonia facility on Cherry Fork, Leetonia. Traina said it was part of a grant the Port Authority received in 2019 to make energy upgrades to the facility, but part of the project was put on hold due to the pandemic. The bid for the work was $144,800.
–The next Columbiana County Port Authority meeting is scheduled for March 28 at 5 p.m., with the board deciding to meet every two months this year.