In last night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama pledged $30 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to community banks for small business loans.
Chicago is ahead of the curve on this one, to a smaller tune. Last November, City Treasurer Stephanie Neely announced the city would devote $5 million of Skyway lease funds to a loan fund for microenterprises--business with five employees or fewer. Accion Chicago has already received $750,000 and is making loans between $10,000 and $25,000 to qualifying businesses. You can watch her talk about it here.
According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, a trade association supporting microbusinesses, these tiny enterprises generate 17 percent of the jobs in Cook County. Good things come in small packages, and it's good to see local and national government stepping up to support them as they spur economic recovery.