On Thursday, February 25th, the Rutland Economic Development Corporation hosted an Alternative Financing for Businesses Workshop at the REDC offices in downtown Rutland. Over twenty-five people attended this public forum to listen to a panel of experts present on non-traditional financing options for small businesses, afterwards participating in an in-depth Q&A session. Panelists included representatives from:
- The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): an independent agency of the federal government established to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns and strengthen the overall economy of our nation. The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.
- The Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA): Vermont’s statewide economic development finance lender with a mission to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.
- The Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF): a mission-driven, community-focused alternative lender that makes loans to local businesses, community organizations & nonprofits, child care providers and developers of affordable housing who don’t qualify for a loan from a traditional lender. They provide financial consulting and business development services to their borrowers to make sure they have access to everything they need to succeed.
- Community Capital of Vermont: a statewide small business and microenterprise lender serving low and moderate income entrepreneurs. Their mission is to help small businesses prosper through the provision of flexible business financing.
- USDA Rural Development: an organization committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. They offer technical assistance and loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services such as housing, economic development, health care, first responder services and equipment, and water, electric and communications infrastructure.
- Vermont Small Business Development Center: works to positively impact sustainable, economic development in Vermont by strengthening both established businesses and start-up entrepreneurs. Their certified professionals specialize in high quality, innovative advising and training to be responsive and serve the market.
- REDC Revolving Loan Fund: provides fixed-rate loans for both existing or start-up businesses, often working extensively with local banks and financial institutions, serving as the “gap financing piece” to help meet the unmet funding needs of area businesses. Loans are available for a wide range of initiatives, from working capital to installing new machinery or buying land and/or buildings.
Audience members in attendance consisted of aspiring entrepreneurs, banking representatives, and established entrepreneurs looking for opportunities to grow.