USDA Rural Development and partners held a revolving loan fund stakeholder roundtable in Lincoln, Nebraska via videoconferencing at the Nebraska sites of Kearney, Chadron, Norfolk and Scottsbluff. Thirty-six stakeholders attended, learning about the various revolving loan fund programs that USDA Rural Development offers.
Partners who contributed to the roundtable included Executive Director Jen Wolf of Dawson Area Development, Business Loan Officer Craig Eberle of Southeast Nebraska Development District and Business Loan Specialists Jeff Christensen and Holly Quinn of Northeast Nebraska Economic Development District. Read more »
Recently, I joined USDA, Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook, employees of The Progress Fund, and several of their loan recipients for a funding announcement under Rural Development’s Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). RMAP was authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill and the program is already helping many small rural businesses. Under the program, funds are provided to an intermediary who “re-lends” to entrepreneurs. Deputy Under Secretary Cook announced that The Progress Fund, in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, has been awarded a loan and a grant through the program. The Progress Fund has made more than 97 microloans in rural areas. It is expected the assistance provided by this funding will help create or save over 22 jobs. Following the announcement, we all enjoyed products from Emerald Valley Artisans, including a test sample of the new Hills Tavern Blue cheese. Read more »
Beadle and Spink Enterprise Community (BASEC) just made its 500th loan and through its revolving loan program has loaned over $16 million dollars to improve the economic and housing climate of part of South Dakota since 1996. BASEC (named after the two counties it serves) has less than a 1 percent default rate and has made loans to all income levels with the majority being low to moderate income applicants. Some of the borrowers have had excellent credit histories and some not so good. Executive Director Lori Hintz feels the key to the low default rate besides the fact that great people live in the service area, is that when times get tough, they try to work out a plan that works for them, their cash flow and their situation. Read more »