By TONY BROWN Staff writer
Maryville Daily Forum
March 2, 2016
Nodaway County Economic Development, a non-profit agency that, among other tasks, seeks to help local businesses expand while recruiting new enterprises to the area, offered some good news Tuesday for would-be entrepreneurs and existing small-business owners.
NCED Executive Director Josh McKim said the agency has been approved for $425,000 in low-interest loan funds to be disbursed to borrowers seeking either to grow existing businesses or start new ones across an area embracing Nodaway, Atchison, Gentry, Holt, and Worth counties.
The money, made available by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through its Intermediary Relending Program, is being awarded as one of only six low-interest loan initiatives in five states intended to spur economic development in rural areas.
McKim said NCED will use the money to renew its existing revolving loan fund, which provides financing for small businesses. He said potential borrowers already in the local economic development pipeline have the potential to create up to 50 new jobs.
The initiative is similar to an earlier infusion of cash made available several years ago for startups and small-business expansions through the Neighborhood Assistance Program administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
NAP funds earmarked for no-interest loans, McKim said, totaled $150,000, most of which has been disbursed.
The USDA program differs slightly from NAP, he said, in that borrowers will be charged between 2 and 3 percent interest.
McKim said the length of time over which loans are to be repaid will vary depending on what the money is used for. Businesses borrowing working capital, for instance, will have two to five years to repay their debt. Equipment loans are to be spread out over five to seven years, and real estate acquisition and construction loans can be financed for as long as 10 years.
The maximum loan amount is $250,000. Non-profit organizations are ineligible for the program.
As for the types of enterprises eligible for assistance, McKim said the guidelines are fairly broad so long as the business operates within a rural area, a designation that includes the entire five-county region.
In practice, McKim said he expects most of the money to go to retail and service-sector operations in addition to a limited number of small “early stage” manufacturing concerns.
Though loan applications will have to be approved by USDA, McKim said the primary decision-makers will be a local loan committee and the NCED board.
He said one of the attractive features about the program is that it gives NCED local control over who gets the money for what purpose.
While the USDA has approved NCED’s involvement in the program, McKim said a number of administrative steps remain before the money becomes available.
After those are completed, the funds will remain with USDA and be disbursed through NCED to borrowers as individual loans are approved.
Prospective borrowers must submit written applications to the NCED office, which is located at 423 N. Market St. in Maryville. The office’s phone number is 660.582.4490, and the NCED website is located at www.nodaway.biz.