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DENVER-The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority is launching a $50 million economic development initiative that will increase the supply of long-term, fixed-rate capital available to small businesses statewide, encouraging business growth through investment in real estate, machinery and equipment.

“The Housing and Finance Authority, based on its past experience, expects this new initiative to result in the creation or retention of over 1,800 jobs in Colorado,” says Bob Lee, director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. “These funds are targeted to help small businesses, the backbone of our economy,” Lee adds. “We will be helping small manufacturers, women and minority-owned businesses, farmers and ranchers, and non-profit organizations throughout the state.”

The Colorado Office of Economic Development will assist CHFA by highlighting the program to Colorado’s small businesses and by providing referrals to CHFA.

The initiative will leverage funds from CHFA’s economic development programs with resources available from existing financial networks – including banks, local economic development groups, and other small business partners.

“The small business sector is responsible for the greatest number of jobs in Colorado,” says Jay Davidson, chairman of CHFA’s board. “Strengthening employment opportunities here is essential to Colorado’s economic stability and growth. The objective is to encourage capital investment that will result in more competitive businesses in the marketplace and ultimately lead to job creation and retention.”

The funds for this $50 million initiative are in addition to funds CHFA has already budgeted for its economic development programs in 2003 and represent the largest allocation of funds it has dedicated to its business finance programs since inception.

Plans of this initiative include: $20 million for manufacturing facilities; $10 million for more flexible lending structures; $10 million for rural Colorado businesses, ranchers, and farmers; $5 million to help nonprofit organizations acquire new or existing facilities; and $5 million in private sector loans of up to $150,000 to small businesses primarily targeted to assisting women- and minority-owned businesses.

CHFA is currently rated A1/A+ with a positive outlook – from Moody’s and Standard & Poors. In 20 years of business lending, CHFA has provided more than $350 million in financing to over 1,425 businesses in 58 counties, impacting the creation or retention of 20,100 jobs.

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