Maison Dandoy, the historic Brussels chain of pastry and tea-shops, is the first company to take advantage of a new proxi-loan approved by the Brussels regional government earlier this month.
The proxi-loan allows private individuals to lend money to businesses, including self-employed people and non-profits, while benefiting from tax advantages.
The loan, guaranteed by the Brussels Guarantee Fund, is for a term of five or eight years, and can be repaid annually, six monthly, quarterly, monthly or in one lump sum. The interest rate is not less than 0.875% or more than 1.75%.
One more condition: the loan must be taken out for the purpose of continuing the normal business activity of the borrower, and not, for example, to expand into new areas. The original purpose of the system was to allow businesses to keep their heads above water in the current circumstances of the coronavirus crisis.
The lender, meanwhile, gets a tax credit of 4% of the value of the loan for the first three years, and 2.5% after that.
“The decision to use the proxi-loan is above all proof of good management by our company,” explained Alexandre Helson, general manager of Maison Dandoy.
“We choose to anticipate possible future effects of the crisis by strengthening our cash flow now.” The company is seeking financing of €300,000.
The announcement was welcomed by the Brussels government.
“The Brussels Region had to act quickly to assist SMEs during this complicated period,” said Barbara Trachte (Ecolo), secretary of state for economic transition.
“The fact that a renowned company such as Maison Dandoy can benefit from the measure so soon after its implementation fully meets the objectives we have set ourselves.”
The loan will be administered via the crowdfunding platform Look&Fin. Anyone wishing to take part in this or subsequent proxi-loans should make an account with the platform. Members of the public can participate with sums of €100 or more.