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Article updated: 10/11/2013 7:50 AM

Chicago mayor, treasurer back microlending program


An initiative to offer small loans -- known as microloans -- to small businesses in Chicago is expanding.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Treasurer Stephanie Neely announced a partnership to invest an additional $1 million in the program. The goal is to support about 300 new small businesses by 2016.

The city launched the Chicago Microlending Institute in May 2012. To date, more than 110 small business owners have borrowed more than $900,000. About a third of the loans have been for amounts less than $5,000.

The loans were made by Accion Chicago, the Women's Business Development Center and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives.

Borrowers report the microloans made it possible for their businesses to expand to second locations, fund new projects and maintain or create jobs.

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