The Economic Development Department thinks it will be another month or so before it tells small businesses which ones will get special loans from the state.

The state small business loan program has a small pot of money–two million dollars–to loan to companies of five or fewer workers in amounts of 25-hundred to 25-thousand dollars. Department officials had been thinking many of those applying for the loans would be start-up companies.

Spokesman John Fougere can’t say how much the entrants applied for in total, but he says it’s more than the two-million dollars. He says about 700 small businesses asked for information about the program, but only 25 percent of them went ahead and filed–172.

The department staff is reviewing the applications, checking references, and the appropriate use of the money. Fougere says some of the loans might be handed out on a lottery basis but it’s likely to be next month before the winners and their amounts are announced.

The businesses can take ten years to pay back the loans with a three-percent interest rate.