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SBPC offers low interest loan program to support businesses

A new low-interest loan fund is available for start-ups and existing businesses needing additional capital to sustain or grow their organizations during and after a pandemic.

Souris Basin Planning Council’s Souris Basin Resiliency Fund is supported by about $1.2 million from the Economic Development Administration.

“The resiliency fund is essentially a low-interest, fairly flexible financing tool for businesses that are recovering and/or responding to the COVID-19 global pandemic,” said Briselda Hernandez, economic development specialist at SBPC. “It could be businesses or organizations that are working to recover from and respond to any economic and financial injury as a result of the global pandemic. Also, businesses and organizations that are working to pivot and/or expand their current operation in order to better prepare and respond to future disasters.”

Businesses or organizations starting up to respond to the needs of the community during a pandemic or other natural disaster also are eligible, as is any start-up that is taking on additional risk during this time of economic uncertainty, she said. Businesses looking to refinance to restructure during this time would be eligible, too.

“Really, the purpose of this program is to make it as flexible as possible so as many businesses as possible can benefit from it,” Hernandez said. “We wanted to make sure that we created a program that complemented other programs. We tried to identify any gaps that may exist and, hopefully, our goal with this program is to be able to help fill those gaps.”

The program offers loans of $5,000 to $250,000 at 1% interest for the first two years, followed by 2% interest for the remaining term. In some cases, payments may be deferred for six months. A 10% equity is encouraged but not required. Loans are to be secured with fixed assets or other reasonable collateral, and SBPC will work with a business’s private lender when applicable.

Loans of up to 20 years are available for projects that involve purchases of fixed assets. Loans can be for up to 10 years for equipment purchases and up to seven years for working capital.

Current guidelines will be in place at least through June 30, 2022. As a revolving loan fund, the program will be able to continually create new loans.

The program is open to businesses or organizations in SBPC’s seven-county region, which includes Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Renville, Pierce and Ward counties. They can work through their local lenders, or an application is available on the SBPC website at sourisbasin.org. Questions also can be directed to Hernandez at 701-712-7308.

Hernandez said informational sessions were held with lenders and economic development groups in the region.

“We project that most of our projects will be referred by our partners, which are lenders or chambers of commerce or other economic development organizations,” she said. “Our goal right now is to really educate the public, educate all of our partners on the program, but really just to spread awareness that this program is available, and hopefully it helps fill the gap that currently exists.”

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