Socially and economically disadvantaged individuals in Maryland who want to own a franchise but lack the necessary funds should contact the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority (MSBDFA). Since 1986, the government agency has provided about $2.8 million to help underprivileged people become franchisees through its Equity Participation Investment Program Franchising Component.
For a $50 fee, prospective loan recipients receive an application and suggestions on how to formulate a successful business plan. Once the application is completed and the business plan developed, both are sent, with a $100 application fee, to the MSBDFA. The fees are nonrefundable, and the entire process takes about two months.
"We're looking for individuals who have strong management capabilities, financial management and marketing strengths, and general 'relating to people' skills," says program manager Randy Croxton.
Those accepted to the loan program receive 45 percent or less of the total financing needed, to a maximum of $100,000.
For an application, call Croxton at (410) 333-4270.