When the nation’s largest banks began to tighten up lending standards, many small businesses found themselves wondering how and where to get funding. At a time when businesses in the country were encouraged to go green, the investment options for these green business launches all but dried up. However, there are small organizations across the nation that are designed to help green small businesses get funding. One such program is Georgia Green Loans.
Georgia Green Loans is a program started by Appalachian Community Enterprises, Inc (ACE). ACE is a 501c3 non-profit organization that launched in 1998. Since its launch, the organization has loaned more than $4 million to small businesses, which created or saved more than 800 jobs in the North Georgia and Metro Atlanta area.
The Georgia Green Loans program provides loans ranging from $500 to $35,000 to entrepreneurs that want to start a green business or even upgrade an existing business to a more sustainable and eco-friendly model.
One of Georgia Green Loans’ success stories is Arthur Thomas, owner of the Georgia Mountain Berry Farms in Eastanollee, Georgia. The farm opened in 2008 with the help of ACE and as of April 2009, Thomas had already repaid the loan. His farm employs three local residents part-time but with his expanding blackberry operation, Thomas hopes to expand to 15-20 people.
Another beneficiary of the Georgia Green Loans program is Leah Carter, owner of Carrolton-based Better for Babies. Carter sells fair-trade, organic cloth diapers, baby slings, organic baby clothes, and other eco-friendly baby products.
Georgia Green Loans is just one of many ways that entrepreneurs are finding the capital that they need to get their green business funded. For more information on the program, visit the Georgia Green Loans website.
Photo: Better for Babies