CHATTANOOGA, Tenn, Nov 05, 2010 -- Southeast Tennessee has suffered a string of job losses due to manufacturing plant closures: more than 3,400 since 2008. At the same time there are big prospects on the horizon as Volkswagon, Wacker-Chemie and others are building major new facilities.
USDA Rural Development (RD) State Director Bobby Goode, Southeast Tennessee Development District (SETDD) Executive Director Beth Jones and local officials today announced federal funding for a regional revolving loan fund designed to provide affordable start-up financing for home-grown small businesses that will supply the new manufacturers with parts and services. The announcement was made during the SETDD annual meeting at Chester Frost Park.
"Small businesses are the economic engine of our communities, creating jobs and helping maintain a healthy local economy," said Goode. "By setting up this new source of affordable business capital, Southeast Tennessee Development District is helping bring more good jobs to the area."
The fund will be capitalized by an RD $750,000 one-percent loan combined with $187,500 in contributions from SETDD. The $937,500 loan fund is expected to be available to small businesses for start-up, expansion or working capital and can be for up to a maximum of $150,000. SETDD serves ten Tennessee counties; Bledsoe, Bradley, Grundy, Hamilton, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, and Sequatchie along with Catoosa, Dade, and Walker in North Georgia. More information is available through SETDD at 423-266-5781.
"Access to capital for small businesses and entrepreneurs in our rural communities can be very challenging. We are thrilled that Rural Development has helped capitalize this loan fund that will provide gap financing for projects ultimately creating jobs and leveraging private capital investment throughout our region." said Jones.
Participants in the event also included Sen. Bob Corker's Representatives Betsy Ranalli and David Leaverton, Rep. Zack Wamp's Representative Leaigh McClure and Rural Development Chattanooga Area Director David Collett.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing. With supplemental funding through the Recovery Act the agency assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses through more than $1.3 billion in affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants. More than 86 percent of these investments will be paid back with interest. The rest is at work creating jobs, broadening the local tax base and increasing opportunities in education, training, healthcare and public safety.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in southeast Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Chattanooga at 423-756-2239 ext. 2, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 extension 1492, or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410,
or call (800) 795-3272 TDD (615) 783-1397