Gypsum woman aims to help small-biz owners
September 16, 2013
A Gypsum businesswoman has an idea to help small-business owners across the state.
Donna Fasi, president of Accounts Receivable Solutions LLC, envisions a micro-loan and grant program that she is tentatively calling the Colorado Enterprise Fund.
"I'm an accountant and business consultant," said Fasi, who owns other small businesses as well. "I have clients who are struggling and the only way the situation is going to get better is to help them expand and make their businesses more efficient."
Fasi said the way banks are doing things isn't working.
"The bank only considers credit scores and doesn't look at the person," she said. "Some of these business owners have a low credit score because they are waiting for people to pay them for work they've done honestly – they can't pay their bills until they get paid, which unfairly hurts their credit. Then if they do get a bank loan, they have to pay much higher interest rates. Small business owners are routinely rejected for business loans because lenders requirements for a small business entrepreneur are more stringent.
Fasi said excessive paperwork is also a barrier.
"The process needs to be streamlined," she said. "People struggling to make ends meet and keep their businesses going don't have the time for so much paperwork. One person I talked to was asked to compile tax returns and his gains and losses from the last three years, and provide a five-year projection of his business to apply for a small loan."
The Colorado Enterprise Fund would be aimed at helping business owners meet their needs in a timelier manner to stay competitive.
"Some small businesses that are not retail businesses, such as construction and the subcontractors that are related to construction are constantly in need of an expensive tool, a piece of equipment, a work truck, a computer, or maybe need to expand into a larger shop in order to improve their sales. These business people are almost always battling a cash flow situation," Fasi wrote on a fund-raising website called GoFundMe.com.
Fasi said she's been researching the feasibility of the program everyday for two months and has a possible investor.
"We're bringing in a consultant to help us with the federal and state banking laws," she said.
Meanwhile, she's looking for donations, private investments or helpful feedback.
"I'm looking for anyone who is willing to help," she said. "I would like to have $1 million in the bank by October and start helping businesses in Colorado. We've got to do something because the credit market is so tight and the banks aren't lending."
Fasi said she would like to set up the program as a non-profit but she isn't sure if that's possible because investors would likely want to see returns on their money. Any donated money would help protect investors and cover Fasi's costs in getting the program started.
"I envision a micro-loan program that can handle grants," Fasi said. "And there would be an educational component to grants in which grant and/or loan recipients would have to take a seminar to make sure they are doing proper bookkeeping and working smarter instead of harder. That's the concept in a nutshell."