Colorado Governor Announces Statewide Cannabis Loan Program

On Monday Colorado Governor Jared Polis and the Cannabis Business Office (CBO) announced the Cannabis Business Loan Program for social equity licensed cannabis businesses in Colorado.

The CBO (a department within the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade), has partnered with mission-based lender NuProject to provide financing that is not otherwise available to cannabis businesses through traditional lenders.

“This landmark loan program will create and retain 239 good-paying jobs and promote equity in the cannabis industry by providing growing businesses access to funding. I am committed to saving small businesses money and ensuring our state remains a great place to start and run a business in every industry”, said Governor Polis in a press release. “Thank you to NuProject for partnering with Colorado on this exciting milestone and working to support innovation in Colorado’s cannabis industry.”

The press release notes that traditional funding sources designated for small businesses often preclude the cannabis industry, causing cannabis business owners to experience increased difficulty accessing capital as they grow their businesses. To help fill this funding gap, the Cannabis Business Loan Program will provide loans between $50,000 and $150,000 for renovations or expansions, the purchase of equipment, real estate or use as working capital. Loans will have favorable and manageable terms based on borrower needs.

NuProject, which has a history of lending to cannabis businesses, specializes in mission-based and character-based lending. These practices help business owners obtain loans even if they have limited cash flow, lack the traditional assets necessary to secure financing or have experienced other challenges obtaining financing. NuProject also provides educational assistance and mentorship to assist business owners in preparing for loan applications.

“NuProject is committed to redirecting the typical flow of financing so that small business owners in the cannabis industry, especially those who’ve been historically excluded from access to capital, can access the resources they need to grow their businesses”, said Jeannette Ward Horton, NuProject CEO. “When cannabis business owners have access to financial support and the know-how to put that funding to work, they can run better businesses and have the opportunity to build generational wealth through the cannabis industry.”

NuProject and the CBO will manage the Cannabis Business Loan Program as a revolving loan fund. As loans are repaid, the interest generated will be reinvested into the fund to support future borrowers. The initial $1 million investment is expected to lend $2.9 million over the next 10 years, creating and retaining important jobs in Colorado.

“Colorado’s Cannabis Business Loan Program is at the forefront of the cannabis industry, creating a new model to help these small business owners access the resources they need to grow and thrive”, said Eve Liberman, OEDIT Executive Director. “Together with NuProject, the Cannabis Business Office is making it possible for cannabis businesses to grow, create new jobs and contribute to a Colorado economy that works for everyone”.

The Cannabis Business Loan Program announced today is the third CBO funding source available for Colorado’s social equity licensed cannabis businesses. The Cannabis Business Grant, launched in 2021, provides $25,000 Foundational Grants to help early stage cannabis businesses with their startup needs and $50,000 Growth Grants to support existing cannabis businesses as they grow or refine their operations. The Cannabis Business Loan Program is designed to support larger, more established cannabis businesses as they continue to grow.

Recipients of Cannabis Business loans are required to be social equity licensed cannabis businesses that have been awarded a regulated business license from the Marijuana Enforcement Division. To be notified of future rounds of grant funding or developments related to the loan program, subscribe to the Cannabis Business Office newsletter.

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