NEW! Howard County Economic Development Authority Lift Fund

Providing microloans to Howard County Small Businesses

The HCEDA’s Leveraging Investment for Future Transformation Fund, or “LIFT” Fund, enables HCEDA to provide microloans ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 to small businesses for a 3–5-year term. HCEDA also has resources at its Maryland Innovation Center (MIC) to supplement the funding, with the goal of better positioning the loan recipient for success. For example, if a small business wants to obtain a microloan and HCEDA determines that the owner need business coaching/training as a requirement, the owner will find resources available at the MIC.

The loan program primarily serves small businesses including minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and other socially disadvantaged groups. The ideal candidate would be a Howard County business that is generating revenue, who is looking for funds to lift and empower their business towards growth.

Eligible Uses of Funds:

A business can use funds for working capital, inventory purchase, equipment purchases, improvement costs, or build-out/expansion costs or similar expenses. Please note: microloans are capped at $30,000.

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Business must be located in Howard County.
  • Business must be operational for at least 1 year.
  • Cash flow must be sufficient to repay obligations.
  • Borrower must demonstrate ability to repay debts, as indicated by a good credit history (preferred credit score is 600 and above)
  • All individual business owner(s) who own 20% or more of the business must provide personal guarantees.
  • The analysis will be conducted on a case-by-case basis.
  • No prior bankruptcy within 7 years.

To Apply:

Please note: loan applications will be accepted starting on August 15, 2023.

Step 1: All potential candidates must complete the LIFT Fund Loan Application

Step 2: To answer question #6 of the application, candidates must fill out the LIFT Fund Application Form, which requires in-depth information.

Step 3:  Once complete, submit the Application Form to the Director, Business Incentives Programs via:

Mail to:
Director, Business Incentives Programs
6751 Columbia Gateway Dr. Suite 500
Columbia MD, 21046

Step 3: Immediately after application submission, submit a non-refundable application fee of $100 at: www.PayPal.Me/HCEDA

For additional information, please contact us via email.