Bridge programState Senator Mattie Hunter today proudly spoke out in support of Small Contractor Bridge, a new loan program that has been created (greatly in response to her efforts) to help small contractors as they compete for public works projects.

Hunter has been vocal for the past several years in respect to identifying the problem of and addressing the need for small business loans and allowing for minority contractors’ participation in bidding on public works projects. She has advocated in the General Assembly for small and minority businesses, having supported in the past programs working to leverage state resources to aid businesses in competing on an equal playing field. Hunter was also among the first to identify the need for a state solution through a working capital program for M/W/DBE (minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged business enterprises) contractors who find themselves unable to bid on public work projects due to high financial barriers and lack of access to working capital.

 “Small Contractor Bridge is an essential tool to help small and emerging businesses com

 pete for public works projects,” Hunter said. “As we get ready to begin another construction season, I am appreciative of the Quinn administration’s commitment to leveling the playing field so all contractors may compete fairly for business opportunities with the state. I also commend the IFA and CCLF for their collaboration, dedication and quick action to make this program a reality.”

Small Contractor Bridge is a cooperative effort involving the Governor’s office, the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA), Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) and numerous state agencies designed to allow small contractors access to the working capital they need to compete for public works projects. Small businesses, including M/W/DB enterprises, frequently have difficulty securing working capital, a prerequisite to obtaining bonding for public work.

The program is fashioned to provide accounts receivable financing to ease cash flow problems for M/W/DBE contractors so they may qualify for and execute public agency (local, state and federal) contracts in Illinois.

Small Contractor Bridge was developed with information from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Small Business Administration or SBA’s Small Contractor Initiative. The IFA intends to expand the program in partnership with local lenders and bond agents throughout Illinois.

“I am excited for this collaborative effort which is going to benefit the best interest of Illinois’ economy and citizens,” Hunter concluded.

The program, which was approved by both the IFA and CCLF boards, has now been made available for minority contractors’ benefit and is operating.

For more information, please visit the Chicago Community Loan Fund’s web site at