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$15-million loan program for L.A. small businesses is launched

The program, organized by the Valley Economic Development Center, is designed to provide capital to exisiting businesses throughout the city.

October 15, 2009|Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Small businesses that are having trouble obtaining loans may be eligible for assistance under a new program organized by a San Fernando Valley economic development group.

The loan program is designed to provide capital to existing businesses throughout Los Angeles to help offset the effects of the economic downturn and the credit crunch, said Roberto Barragan, president of the Valley Economic Development Center.

"This program is specifically a job-saving and job-creation program," he said. "We expect to create in excess of 1,500 jobs through these loans by providing capital that might keep a business from going out of business or from laying people off."

Loan amounts will range from $45,000 to $450,000, with an estimated average amount of $250,000, Barragan said.

The loans can be used for buying inventory or equipment, refinancing debt, buying commercial property, working capital or tenant improvements, he said.

The first loan recipient will be Powerline Control Systems of Northridge. The loan, for $220,000, is meant to help the company further develop and market a product that uses wireless light sensors to dim or shut off lights in commercial and industrial locations, Chief Executive Marshall Lester said.

The product, called GreenWorx, is installed in a parking garage and a gymnasium at Cal State Northridge, Lester said.

"We haven't been able to get this sort of loan from a bank," he said. "But we need this working capital to test GreenWorx, produce it, sell it -- and all of that means we need to hire more people too."

The $15-million loan program was funded by the city of Los Angeles through a loan from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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nathan.olivarezgiles@latimes.com

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