LA offering new loans to help boost small business

HIGHLAND PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles City Hall is opening up the purse strings with a $4 million investment in small businesses. The money is going to what City Hall calls the "15 Great Streets" - one for each council district.

North Figueroa in Highland Park is just like the others - lined with small business.

Ruben Herrera is one of the first to qualify for a loan, to help expand his Highland Park glass-and-mirror business. He's planning to use the money to expand his product line and hire another 12-15 people.

The city loans can be as small as $1,000 or as much as $250,000.

Mayor Eric Garcetti says every vacant storefront depresses the local economy, discouraging shopping.

"Every time they see a vibrant one like this it helps everybody spend more time and spend more money on the streets," Garcetti said.

Outside the city of LA's limits, the federal government's Small Business Administration has loosened its purse strings as well for small businesses.

Congress recently restarted a multibillion dollar program to help small businesses restructure their commercial loans. U.S. Rep. Judy Chu said older, more expensive conventional loans can be refinanced at today's low rates, around 4 percent, helping businesses free up more funds.

Other federal programs can help small businesses get started or grow, with amounts available from $150,000 to $5.5 million.
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