Where does The Progress Fund operate?
We serve Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland.
If you aren’t a bank, then what are you?
We are a non-profit organization. Our mission is to help small businesses grow and create the new jobs that people want throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. Commercial banks have very different motivations so some very good entrepreneurs are unable to get a loan from the banks they approach.
Why are most of your borrowers in the tourism industry?
The tourism industry offers unique opportunities for those in small rural communities. With that said, we’re very broad-minded. While we’ve backed our share of B&Bs and restaurants, we’ve also assisted wineries and distilleries, manufacturers, professional service firms and many other great small businesses.
How does The Progress Fund know so much about tourism?
We’ve been doing what we are doing since 1994. Our staffers have decades of experience in economic and community development. Our board includes community development professionals, executives from the natural resources and banking industries, and experts in nonprofit organizations. To date, we’ve made more than 517 loans totaling more than $68.7 Million, and helped small business owners create or retain more than 4,045 jobs.
Applying for a loan:
Who is eligible for a loan?
We lend to new and existing businesses. Many of the people we help run service businesses, like restaurants or overnight accommodations. Many run attractions in the regional tourism industry such as wineries, distilleries, bike shops, and rafting and canoe companies.
What stuff will you finance?
We will loan money for the purchase of an existing business or to start a new one. Funds can be used to purchase real estate and business equipment, to remodel or restore buildings, and provide working capital to cover operational expenses.
How do I start the loan application process?
Starting is easy! Click on Apply for a Loan to start the conversation.
Where is the application form?
Click the Loan Application Form
Where is the personal financial information form?
Click the Personal Financial Statement
Will The Progress Fund give me all of the money I need?
We’ve provided loans for as little as $20,000, and over $1 million. The average is around $150,000. We expect the business owner to contribute resources totaling 10% or more of the project. An existing business might have sufficient value so that a cash contribution to a new enterprise might not be necessary.
How long will it take to hear whether or not I got approved?
Every week, our staff sits down to look over every request for a new loan. That means that within a week, we can tell you we are interested in your idea. We do this so you don’t waste time and energy wondering. After that first week, we get into more fact-finding with you. Our internal process takes six weeks at most. However, the borrowing process usually goes on longer, because the business owner is maneuvering through multiple layers of decision-making on the new project, both with family and friends, investors and attorneys, state agencies, you name it. If you are fast, we are right there with you.
What are the typical terms of The Progress Fund’s loans?
Typically, we provide loans with terms lasting from 5 to 15 years; shorter for equipment purchases, longer for real estate. Since every business is different, we consider your needs and circumstances, and tailor our assistance to meet those needs. For example, we might be able to tailor your repayment schedule to help you through your start-up phase including a construction period, or seasonal fluctuations in cash-flow during slow months of the year.
What’s your interest rate?
Typically, new businesses are charged interest rates of 6% and up. The actual rate depends on the risk level of the business or the potential loss in collateral value.
What costs are associated with the loan?
We charge a loan application fee, a loan origination fee, and legal expenses related to the loan. We will spend a lot of time talking with you, before we ever ask for the fees. We don’t charge the $200 application fee until we are comfortable with your plan and expect to take it to our loan review committee. If your loan is approved, we then ask for a $500 deposit to begin preparing all legal documents. Remaining legal fees, if any, and the 1% loan origination fee are paid at the loan closing.
How much money will I need to put into the deal?
Loans require collateral of either cash or hard assets. Assets might include real estate, equipment and inventories. If those are not sufficient, a pledge of personal assets would be required. We require no less than 10% equity, more in most cases.
Do I need a business plan to borrow money for an existing business?
No you don’t, if you are looking for funding to expand an already successful part of your operation.
Do I need a business plan for a new business?
People starting a business need two things: financing and a good plan. If you are starting a business, then the process of writing a plan will help you understand what you need to do to be successful. If you have a well-thought-out plan with plausible financial projections, the loan application process will be easier and faster.
Where do I get a business plan done?
Small Business Development Centers, or SBDCs for short, are ready and willing to sit down and guide you through the process of preparing a plan. SBDCs cover every county in our region. A list is provided on our Business Planning page.
What if I have other questions, or want to get started?
Click here to send a message, or call (724) 216-9160.