VIRGINIA, Minn., Sep 26, 2011 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited the Entrepreneur Fund in Virginia today to officially award a $750,000 Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) award. The funds will be leveraged with $250,000 of matching funds to capitalize a $1 million revolving loan fund that will provide loans and gap financing to rural businesses in a 10-county region.
“These funds will help small businesses grow and create jobs as the rural economy continues to recover,” Landkamer said. “In order to grow, rural businesses need access to capital. I am pleased that the USDA, in conjunction with our partners at the Entrepreneur Fund, will be able to offer some of that capital through this IRP funding.”
The IRP program provides working capital and other support to local businesses through qualified intermediaries. The Entrepreneur Fund has the ability to initially assist eight to 11 small businesses in the 10-county service area. As the loans are repaid, the Entrepreneur Fund will be able to make additional loans and assist even more small businesses in the region.
“This IRP loan provides an important new source of loan capital for the Entrepreneur Fund when we are seeing record demand for small business financing,” said Mary Mathews, Entrepreneur Fund president. “So far in 2011, we have made 47 loans totaling $1.3 million. In the past 22 years, we have invested $12 million in starting and growing locally owned businesses and now manage a $7.7 million pool of capital.”
USDA Rural Development has invested over $3 billion throughout rural Minnesota since 2009 to improve rural housing, infrastructure, community facilities, businesses and renewable energy. To learn more about Rural Development, call the local office in Virginia at (218) 741-3929, ext. 4.
The Entrepreneur Fund and its initiative, the Greenstone Group, support local entrepreneurs and provide small business financing throughout northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. The organizations have helped start, stabilize or expand more than 1,300 businesses; provided $12 million in loans to nearly 500 businesses; and served 11,000 people through a range of business development services. To learn more, visit www.entrepreneurfund.org and www.greenstonegroup.org.