CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt visited Cape Girardeau, Mo. on Monday, July 9 to discuss Missouri FIRST loans with small business, economic development and government leaders.
Schmitt said the state has $720 million available in loans through the Missouri FIRST program that can help create and retain jobs, expand the economy and strengthen communities statewide.
Missouri FIRST focuses on small businesses, agriculture, multi-family housing, job enhancement, alternative energy and local governments.
After traveling across the state to gather feedback about the program, Schmitt launched the Missouri FIRST initiative in 2018 by implementing significant reforms that streamlined the application process, cut red tape and expanded eligibility criteria.
"We took that feedback," Schmitt explained. "We got rid of that single-use restriction. We made the application one page. We actually cut red tape. A lot of people in government talk about that. We actually did it. So we are pretty proud of the results and we are starting to see that now. We are seeing a 30 percent increase in applications and $40 million dollars in new loans."
Currently, there has been $12 million invested in the Cape Girardeau region through the Missouri FIRST program and Schmitt wants to make sure leaders
"Of all of our loans, which we have almost $250 million dollars worth out there on Main Street, only about 4% are in Southeast Missouri," Schmitt said. "So it's my personal mission to do better than that. We want to make sure that people understand what this is all about. How it can help grow their business."
For more information on this program visit www.MOFIRST.mo.gov.