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Businesses Could Benefit from New County Grant and Loan Fund

$7 million will be divvied from a county reserve to eligible applicants every year.

Prince George’s County businesses looking to expand could have a new resource for financial assistance by early next year, with the county council’s unanimous vote this week to establish a $50 million economic development reserve.

The economic incentive development fund, proposed by County Executive Rushern Baker, would provide grants and loans to public and private sector businesses to spur economic development, job and business growth around developed areas of the county and near transit lines, .

“It could be a national company who wants to move their headquarters to Prince George’s. It could be a small restaurant who wants to expand their business,” said County Councilman Eric Olson (Dist. 3).

The fund would be released by the county in $7 million increments over the next few years, according to Brad Frome, deputy chief of staff for Baker, .

Council criticized the original version of the bill, because it believed it didn't have enough oversight of the funds.

The version approved Tuesday allows councilmembers to select three members of a seven-person review committee of independent financial professionals who would review applications from businesses, The Gazette reported.

The council will also have to approve any amount over $250,000.

“They’re going to have to meet some pretty stringent criteria,” Olson said. “They’re going to have to convince the financial panel that it’s going to be a good investment.”

Note: This story has been corrected. The original version indicated the wrong voting schedule. We regret the error.

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