Group explores micro-loan program
Moffat County residents soon could have a new option for financing a new business or expansion.
The Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership wants to take its “Growing Local Business” program to the next step.
The board discussed how to do it Wednesday during its regular meeting.
In 2004, the EDP gave nearly $35,000 in business and technical assistance grants to 10 local businesses. The funding came from a U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Enterprise grant, and that’s where the EDP is looking for a second round of funding.
The EDP could qualify for a grant of as much as $50,000 if it can come up with the required 50 percent match.
Board members also are exploring a USDA loan program, in which the organization could borrow money at 1 percent interest and relend it to businesses.
“In turn, they (the local EDP) can set their own rates and terms to the business they loan it to,” said Fran Krogh, USDA rural development manager. “It would be a good thing for both parties.”
Either program would benefit businesses as well as the EDP, which could earn money from the interest rate it sets, vice-chair Jerry Thompson said.
A third option is another Rural Business Enterprise grant, but the EDP won’t be prioritized as high the second time around, Krogh said, so its success would be based on the number of applications for that program.
Thompson said the EDP’s grant committee wants to work with local banks, using grant money in a way similar to a loan guarantee.
“That would help people leverage the amount of money they get from a bank,” he said.
A business owner would have to get approval from the EDP board and a bank.
“We would put a deposit in to secure the loan,” Thompson said. “To me, that takes us out of the loan business.”
The committee will develop a plan before applying to the USDA. No timeline has been put on the process.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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