The USDA funds are in the form of a one percent loan with a 30-year payback period. To receive the USDA funding, Venture North will make an additional commitment of $54,000 from existing funds. Venture North also receives support from other organizations including Consumers Energy.
“We’re extremely grateful to the USDA for its ongoing support of Venture North’s business financing efforts, which continue to expand across Northern Michigan,” Venture North Executive Director Laura Galbraith said. “We’re fortunate to be able to provide our region’s business sector access to these federal resources to continue to grow Northern Michigan’s economy.”
This is the USDA’s second major loan to Venture North’s IRP program. The department also made a $400,000 contribution in late 2013 to help launch the program, which also received a $60,000 commitment from Venture North. Galbraith worked for almost two years to receive the necessary training to earn IRP certification from the USDA in order to administer the program.
Since the Intermediary Relending Program’s launch in late 2013, it’s been among Venture North’s most-active lending programs. Twelve USDA loans totaling more than $530,000 have been distributed. Small businesses ranging from food producers, a local hops farm, a food truck, an auto service garage, an outdoor apparel and equipment retailer and others have been able to access USDA loans. As the loans are repaid, proceeds go into a revolving fund and are available to loan out to other companies in accordance with federal regulations.
“(Venture North is) doing a terrific job in stimulating small businesses,” Turner added. “There are examples of small businesses in this room that are growing because of Venture North’s efforts, and our ability to support them.”