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The Bedford County Economic Development Authority approved $12,500 worth of matching funds at their June 26, 2015 meeting to support a Bedford Main Street, Inc. effort to create a zero interest loan program for local businesses in the Town of Bedford.

Bedford Main Street, a local non-profit organization with a vision of creating a vibrant Centertown Bedford, is applying for a Downtown Investment Grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). If awarded, the grant will provide a pool of funding in which businesses can apply for a loan to expand or invest in the Town of Bedford.

“A microloan program for Bedford business and property owners is unprecedented,” said Amanda Adams, Executive Director of Main Street. “We hope it will serve as a means to fill empty store fronts, and really put Bedford on the map of places to go for local flavor, unique shops, and evening entertainment.”

The EDA’s $12,500 will be combined with a match from Bedford Town Council. With that $25,000 combined amount, Bedford Main Street, Inc. has what it needs to apply for the $25,000 DHCD grant, equaling $50,000 in total loan pool funds.

The concept of this program is that a start up firm or business looking to expand or update its operations could apply for $500 – $10,000 in a zero percent interest loan. Through a rating system, Main Street will evaluate each loan request on criteria such as location to Centertown, capital investment, improvement plans, etc.

“This is a great opportunity to help our local business community in the Town,” said Traci Blido, Economic Development Director of Bedford County. “The County EDA was happy to support this collaborative effort with the Town and Bedford Main Street.”