WETHERSFIELD - Wethersfield’s Jan. 29 State of the Town address at the Keeney Center will also ring in an initiative to provide aid to local small businesses.
Mayor Paul Montinieri announced the program, the accumulation of two months of planning between town government departments, the Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, at the Dec. 16 Town Council meeting.
“We will do a State of the Town, but we’d love to get 60 to 70 local businesses to attend,” Montinieri said this week. “Part of it is going to be communicating what’s available to them.”
What’s available are low interest loans that can be worth up to $250,000, matching grants and other financial aid, Montinieri said. The state Department of Economic and Community Development has over $17 million available for these purposes, he said.
“There’s a very healthy amount of money available,” Montinieri said. “But there hasn’t been as much awareness as they would have liked.”
For matching grants, a business can shave off half the cost for projects such as renovations by spending 50 percent of the price tag while the department covers the rest, Montinieri said. Other options include job creation incentives, he said.
“If you can commit to trying to add a job or two, the grant is available for up to $100,000,” Montinieri said. “A lot of businesses are just hanging in there, but, with a little bit of grant money, it can help a lot.”
Staff members from the department will be at the event to explain different types of financial aid and hand out the program’s one-page application.
“I’m really optimistic that we’re going to get a good reaction,” Montinieri said. “It’s easy to apply for, but a lot of businesses don’t even know about it.”