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[From MLive]: Dow Chemical CEO: $130 million public-private investment is new national model for small business growth

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Dow Chemical Co. Chief Executive Officer Andrew N. Liveris says Michigan is showing a new national model when it comes to government and private sector collaboration to help small businesses.

On Tuesday, Liveris, joined by Gov. Rick Snyder, Administrator Karen Mills of the U.S. Small Business Administration and Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon, announced $130 million investment that will provide low-interest loans to small- and medium-sized businesses. Liveris calls the collaboration between Dow Chemical, the state of Michigan and the SBA an exciting day for Michigan.

“You will soon see in the next months, Invest America accomplish work together with the shared goal of creating jobs, town by town, state by state and region by region,” said Liveris, who was recently named chair to President Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

“I’m personally excited to help put our company in the forefront of making this happen to create new markets for entrepreneurial spirit.”

Of the $130 million, $15 million comes from Dow, $30 is coming from the state’s retirement system through a zero-subsidy program and $80 from the SBA.

Businesses located in economically distressed areas or those investing in clean energy are eligible for the low-interest loans.

It’s estimated that up to 20 companies will receive capital investments between $5 and $15 million, said Kelly Williams, managing director and head of Credit Suisse’s Customized Fund Investment Group.

Businesses would pay about 4 percent interest on the loan, said Williams.

Manufacturing and food distribution sectors are expected to benefit from the program, said Williams.

“Given Michigan’s leadership and extraordinary talent in manufacturing, there are a number of companies that have come to our attention,” she Williams.

She added that one business is already in line to receive funding in the food distribution sector and should be announced next month.

The funds are part of a new $1 billion national Impact Investment Fund that aims to help growing companies in high-unemployment areas.

Michigan Treasurer Andy Dillon said the state expects a “solid return” on its investments, although there is no guarantee.

Snyder said the program helps Michigan be a pioneer in an entrepreneurial economy.

“We can emerge and grow quickly,” he said. “This public-private partnership with the SBA, Dow and other partners — it’s exciting to be part of this process. I’m excited for companies to see some financing.”

Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 2:10 PM     Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2011, 2:22 PM