Microlending expands in rural Nevada through USDA partnership | RecordCourier.com

Microlending expands in rural Nevada through USDA partnership

by Kelly Clark
Special to The R-C

Rural Nevada businesses with fewer than 10 employees have a new small business loan program available to help grow their businesses and increase profits as they create jobs and strengthen rural communities.  

“I am very proud to announce that the Rural Nevada Development Corp. is among the first nonprofit development corporations in the nation to be selected to participate in the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program,” said Sarah Adler, USDA Rural Development State Director.”As an RMAP recipient, RNDC will borrow funds from our agency, USDA Rural Development, to be relent as microloans to small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout rural Nevada.  RNDC will also have funding to provide technical assistance along side the business financing.”

RNDC will receive a $500,000 loan and $103,000 grant to provide financial and technical assistance and training to rural microentrepreneurs.  The development group serves businesses statewide as well as the 27 Indian Tribes, with the exception of the metropolitan areas of Reno, Carson City, and Las Vegas.

It will direct the microloans to small businesses in rural areas, with loans between $500 and $50,000.  RNDC has offices in Ely, Carson City, and Pahrump. Their website is at http://www.rndcnv.org  .

“In many cases, an entrepreneur needs only a small amount of money, a microloan, to get started,” said RNDC Chief Executive Officer Ferrel Hansen. “This new loan program allows us to expand a program that has been limited in the past.”

“We are able to do start-up businesses in this tough economic climate- which is something that traditional lenders are shying away from right now,” added RNDC Lending Administrator Mary Kerner.

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RNDC has a long history of investing in rural Nevada, as it was established in 1992 as a nontraditional, nonprofit lender serving the underserved areas of the state. As a non-profit development corporation, RNDC can access federal and state funds or economic development funds for targeted service areas.  RNDC has already loaned out more than $10 million to 100 businesses in rural Nevada. In that time, 270 jobs have been created, and another 466 were retained.

David Foster, the RMAP program specialist for USDA Rural Development in Nevada, indicated that to be eligible, businesses must be located outside of the Las Vegas, Carson City or Reno metropolitan areas, have fewer than 10 employees , and have less than $1 million annually in sales.  Loan recipients must be establishing a new business or expanding an existing business, which will create new jobs, or save existing jobs. .

Along with the loans, each borrower is entitled to training and technical assistance through the Small Business Development Centers.  Through this training business owners could learn how to develop a business plan, or could learn other technical skills.

“Our customers have a name and get personal service,” said Hansen.”We give careful time and consideration on each deal to try and make it work for the borrower, rather than trying to turn them down. “

“We are really pleased to see our good partner, Rural Nevada Development Corporation move into this new arena of micro-lending.” said Herb Shedd, the USDA Rural Development Business Programs Director.  “They have proven over the past 18 years that they are great partners for rural Nevada. All in all, it is a natural transition for them to go from being an intermediary lender to now serving as a microlender too. “

The RMAP was authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill ).