Loans available to Virginia Small Businesses

The Bath County Economic Development Authority is made up of the following members: Mason Cauthorn, Roy Burns, Crystal Salvatore, Jay Trinca, Karen Williams, Gloria Lindsay, John Fischer.  A recent statement provided by member John Fisher lets local small business owners know about an assistance and economic benefits program available to them. The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority helps banks provide loans to small businesses. In some cases it’s possible for the VSBFA to be the direct lender to the small business itself. Loans can also come through the Bath EDA, thus achieving below prime interest rates for the borrower. There is also free business counseling from experienced experts to help with developing a business plan.

Bath’s EDA hopes that by participating with the VSBFA they will: encourage the creation, growth and success of small businesses operated by county residents; provide new job opportunities for local residents; increase the commercial tax base in the county and, encourage entrepreneurship. They report that because of our county’s demographics, as much as $1 million is available to Bath businesses under these financing programs.   Three of them are described here:

The one for the largest businesses, the economic development loan, is good for up to ten years and is meant to fill the financing gap between private debt financing and private equity. It could create new jobs and retain “at risk” jobs. Eligible borrowers are:

  1. Industrial or Economic Development Authorities themselves who can then make loans for economic development purposes.
  2. Businesses engaged in technology, biotechnology, tourism, manufacturing, renewable energy, government contractors, basic commercial and industrial companies, and those businesses or entities that provide for the county’s economic and “quality of life” development.

There are four criteria businesses of this size need to meet, and information on those, and what loan funds can be used for, from purchasing of new machinery to acquiring new land and buildings is available by contacting an EDA member.

The second of the three available programs is the Small, Women and Minority, or SWaM loan, which consists of a direct loan to the client and does not require a bank’s participation.  The SWaM is a four-year loan from ten thousand to twenty-five thousand dollars at interest rates at 3% over the prime rate. It is available to businesses that have been in operation for over two years and requires a personal guarantee of the principal with a credit score of 650 or more. Also included are up to six sessions of business counseling.


A third opportunity available to start-ups, or other small businesses, to enhance or expand their operations over a five to seven year period, is the VSBFA Loan Guarantee.   It can be for up to 750 thousand dollars and is for circumstances in which bank financing would not otherwise be available. Businesses applying for this program need to meet one of the same eligibility criteria as the Economic Development loan.

If you are an interested small business owner, or would like to become one, speak to any EDA Board member. For their contact information please call the Bath County Administrator’s office at 540-839-7221.


Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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