Entrepreneur’s dreams often start with the realization of a basic need not being fulfilled. This was the case for Trina Perez, founder of Buzzed Coffee Truck, and Chuck Sharp, founder of Sharpr. For Perez, she was simply looking for a place in her neighborhood where she could get a decent cup of coffee. For Sharp, it all started with an idea that it would be cool if companies had a clearinghouse, similar to Pinterest, where they could privately share ideas. Hence, the evolution of Buzzed Coffee Truck and Sharpr.

At Your Service
Since launching in the 1990’s, the Salt Lake City Economic Development Loan Fund (EDLF) has helped more than 150 entrepreneurs’ dreams and wishes become reality. The EDLF was established to stimulate business development and expansion, create employment opportunities, encourage private investment, promote economic development, and enhance neighborhood vitality and commercial enterprise in the City by making loans available to businesses.

“The City’s EDLF program helps business owners accomplish their dreams by providing financing that they might not be able to find anywhere else,” says Shelby Cox, who manages the City’s small business loans.

EDLF loans money to startup and existing businesses for a variety of purposes such as:
* Energy efficient equipment upgrades
* Construction and tenant improvements
* Signage and retail presentation
* Furnishings and equipment
* Working capital

Cox explains that the program offers three types of loans. “Startup businesses (0-3 years old) can apply for loans up to $100,000. Existing businesses (3+ years old) can apply for loans up to $350,000. Microloans are also available for up to $25,000.”

Loan details include:
* Terms last up to seven years
* No minimum credit score
* 10% minimum collateral
* $100 application fee
* 1.5% of loan amount at closing

Interest rates vary with an average rate of 6.5%. Interest rate reduction incentives are given to businesses that support City goals such as geographic priority areas, low to moderate income owners, veteran and disabled owners, and E2 green businesses.

Share The Knowledge

Sharpr creates an Insight Platform for research teams.  “It has all the visualization of Pinterest, where you can add in information, but it’s used privately inside big brands like Walmart and Google,” says Chuck Sharp, CEO and founder.

Sharpr users can post documents, articles, and video into Sharpr and it becomes the client’s private insight library. They share this insight with executives and other teams through email newsletters, a mobile app, and private websites.

When it came time to get a loan, Sharp realized banks are hesitant to loan to software companies. “This fund allowed us to get a loan with reasonable terms and grow our business. We’ve been able to hire two employees and win new business that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible,” Sharp says.

Sharpr has been in business for five years and is trusted by some of the biggest brands in the world like Google, Walmart, and Pepsi.

A Cup Of Joe

You will typically find the Buzzed Coffee Truck parked in Trina Perez’s Rose Park neighborhood when she is not catering a special event. Buzzed Coffee Truck offers a wide variety of specialty coffee drinks and locally sourced pastries and treats.

For Perez, a brick and mortar store was of out of the question, so she started researching trucks. In the competitive food and beverage industry, banks were hesitant about lending to Perez. “I’m extremely grateful for the City’s program and hope it’s around for a long time. It allowed me to follow my passion and dreams,” says Perez, owner of Buzzed Coffee Truck.

Buzzed Coffee Truck has been in business for six months and operates one truck.