ACCION USA Announces Launch of Green Small Business Loan Program

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Small Business Loans are Now Available in New York and Massachusetts to Help Businesses Go Green and Save Money. ACCION USA, the Largest Nonprofit Microfinance Organization in the United States, is Offering Loans up to $50,000 to Eco-Friendly Small Businesses, and Business that Want to Go Green and Save Energy.

By combining microfinance and green business, ACCION USA’s 2010 pilot program will help an estimated 70 small businesses qualify for the loans needed to jumpstart local environmental change through energy efficiency and eco-friendly businesses practices.

ACCION USA, a leader in U.S. microfinance and small business lending, today announced a new step into the green business arena with the launch of a green loan and education program in New York and Massachusetts. By combining microfinance and green business, ACCION USA’s 2010 pilot program will help an estimated 70 small businesses qualify for the loans needed to jumpstart local environmental change through energy efficiency and eco-friendly businesses practices.

Under the program, announced today in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, loans are available to start or grow a business that provides eco-friendly products or services, or to help everyday small businesses incorporate green business and energy-saving practices into their operations. ACCION USA’s innovative underwriting method will consider energy savings as part of an applicant’s income, allowing green businesses to more easily qualify for needed financing. A flat, reduced interest rate of 8.99 percent annually is available in New York through ACCION USA’s Small Business Administration (SBA) microlending program.

A Green Business Webinar series, conducted in coordination with partner experts in green business, kicks off on May 4. Sessions focus on how to set green goals for your business, saving money by saving energy, green marketing tips, and more. A full listing of Webinar dates, times, and topics is available at http://www.accionusa.org/workshops. In addition, a May 6th Webinar is available for organizations interested in partnering with ACCION USA; registration and additional information is available at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/544969512

“This loan program is designed to have a triple-bottom line impact—we hope to boost profits for mom-and-pop small businesses and contractors, improve local environments, and spark community change,” says Gina Harman, president and CEO of ACCION USA. “We are excited start putting our 20 years of experience in small business lending to work for the environment.”

The green loan program comes at an opportune time for small businesses that are struggling to keep costs down and improve profits while still being challenged by the recession. Businesses, especially restaurants, who invest in energy savings can save up to 30 percent on monthly utility costs and qualify for government tax credits. However, these businesses often do not have the funds for an upfront investment in energy efficiency. In addition, entrepreneurs can boost profits by tapping into the growing base of eco-conscious consumers—90 percent of consumers describe themselves as eco-conscious, according to the BBMG Conscious Consumer Report (November 2007).

For more information on green business loan requirements, webinars, partnerships, and how to apply, visit https://www.accionusa.org/green.

About ACCION USA
ACCION USA is a leading U.S. microfinance organization that provides access to capital and financial education to low- and moderate-income individuals, primarily minorities and women. A pioneer and recognized leader in U.S. microfinance, ACCION USA empowers individuals to create sustainable businesses, increase family incomes, and contribute to the economic development of cities across the U.S. Since inception in 1991, ACCION USA has provided over $119 million in small business loans ranging from $500 to $50,000, offered nationwide via the ACCION USA online lending platform. For more information about small business loans, visit http://www.accionusa.org.

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