SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City's Revolving Loan Fund reported disbursing more than $1.6 million to local businesses in 2011 — the most in the program's history. The fund broke the previous record set in 2010.

The fund makes low-interest loans available to businesses within Salt Lake City boundaries. It is designed to stimulate business development and expansion, encourage private investment and economic development, and enhance neighborhood vitality. Since its inception in the 1990s, the loan fund has lent more than $14 million to local businesses.

According to a news release, businesses applied loan proceeds toward a variety of uses, including company expansions, job creation, equipment, building renovations and working capital.

The city's Revolving Loan Fund was established with funds from a federal grant program separate from the city's general fund. Additionally, the fund partners with state organizations to promote economic development in Salt Lake City, the release stated.

These partner organizations include the Utah Microenterprise Loan Fund, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah and the Governor's Office of Economic Development.

"The program has played a critical role in providing local businesses with working capital, which in turn has helped support new job creation and the city's continued economic growth," said fund manager Dan Velazquez.

Recipients of 2011 program funds included The King's English Bookshop, Bluehouse Skis, Liberty Park Concessions, Discrete Headwear, Dolcetti Gelato, Drake Powderworks, Red Iguana, Eiffel Tower Catering and Babinski's Baby.

"This program does exactly what it was intended to do," said Bill Coker, co-owner of the Red Iguana restaurants. "It fills a very big gap between credit cards and venture capital that small businesses desperately need."

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