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ND Opportunity Fund providing loans to help new and expanding ...



The North Dakota Opportunity Fund is accepting applications for small business loans to assist with start-ups and expansions. Led by the City of Mandan, a consortium of 38 municipalities was approved in late 2012 for a $9.7 million allocation from the U.S. Treasury Small Business Credit Initiative for the loan participation program for small businesses.

Since loan documents were approved in November, the N.D. Opportunity Fund loan committee has approved financing for six businesses. More loan applications are welcome.

Business projects need to be located in, or provide benefit to a participating city or tribe, to be eligible for the loan program. Participating municipalities are the cities of Almont, Beach, Beulah, Bismarck, Bowman, Carson, Casselton, Crosby, Dickinson, Dodge, Dunn Center, Fargo, Garrison, Glen Ullin, Halliday, Hazelton, Hazen, Hebron, Hettinger, Killdeer, Lincoln, Linton, Mandan, McClusky, Minot, Mott, New England, New Salem, Regent, Sentinel Butte, Steele, Turtle Lake, Underwood, Watford City, West Fargo, Williston and Wilton, as well as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The Lewis and Clark Regional Development Council serves as the loan program administrator. LCRDC Director of Commercial Lending Brent Ekstrom says the new loan program complements traditional commercial lending services and helps businesses by reducing owner equity requirements. Where banks may require 20 or 30 percent cash upfront for beginning businesses, this program requires a minimum 10 percent down and fills the gap between what a bank will lend and what the entrepreneur has available. "The program will help launch new businesses and grow existing ones that otherwise might not happen because the business may not have enough funds to invest in the project," Ekstrom says.

As dollars are loaned to businesses, repayments from recipients will replenish the program fund, allowing it to revolve and continue to provide assistance.

To apply for more information, contact the Lewis and Clark Regional Development Council at 667-7620 or send an email to bekstrom@lewisandclarkrdc.org. Lenders in participating communities may also request training sessions to become certified to participate in the program.