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Forgivable loans for small businesses expanded in Wilmington

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First State Community Loan Fund has announced the expansion of its Corridor Revitalization Fund in Wilmington.

The business lending program, launched in 2016, is funded by JP Morgan Chase Bank and provides forgivable loans to entrepreneurs, landlords and developers for opening or revitalizing new restaurants and retail shops in downtown Wilmington.

A new $440,000 grant from Chase will focus lending in both the Downtown Business District and Wilmington’s West Side community.

“With this additional funding, we are renewing our commitment to act as a business catalyst and to encourage and support economic revitalization in both the Downtown Business District, and on Wilmington’s West Side,” said Van Hampton, CEO of First State Community Loan Fund. “Working with Chase and other partners, we made incredible progress on the Market Street Corridor with our original round of funding. But there is more work to be done, and we are ready to help fuel similar successes, both on Market Street and in another business corridor.”

The last round of funding benefited a number of businesses: Margaux, Stitch House Brewery and Bardea Food & Drink, restaurants; Fit Body exercise studio; Greenhill Pharmacy and NextFab.

For the next round, First State will do additional outreach to include more women and minority-owned borrowers.

“Downtown Wilmington continues to thrive and our neighborhoods are becoming more vibrant,” said Mayor Mike Purzycki. “These positive changes are due in part to the generous support of JP Morgan Chase, and the tireless work of community partners like First State Community Loan Fund. The new funding being made available today will benefit our Downtown District and an important neighborhood housing and retail project in the Hilltop area on the west side of the City.”

This year’s funding from Chase brings the bank’s total investment in the Corridor Revitalization Fund to over $1 million.

“Chase continues to invest in Wilmington because we believe this city is a great place to live and work,” said Tom Horne, Delaware Market Leader for Chase. “A thriving downtown business community generates jobs, commerce, and a better quality of life for everyone. The success of the original fund is proof of that, so Chase is thrilled to extend that positive impact with an additional $440,000 grant.”

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