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Rural agencies help small business grow

Nevada Appeal Staff Report

Businesses throughout rural Nevada will receive additional access to development capital in the coming months as a result of a continuing partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency and the Rural Nevada Development Corporation.

The nonprofit development corporation, headquartered in Ely, competed for and received a $700,000 loan from USDA’s Intermediary Relending Program for them to relend to qualified businesses throughout the state.

The funds allow the development corporation to make start-up and expansion loans to businesses that are unable to obtain loans from conventional banks, allowing them to create enterprises and jobs throughout rural Nevada.

“Back in 1992 when we started RNDC, we believed there were rural businesses that could succeed and expand, but they were too small, too new, or too remote for conventional banks to make them loans,” said Mike Cosgrove, chairman of RNDC’s board of directors. “Our success today shows we were right. It is also a credit to the partnership that exists in rural Nevada that provides business development assistance and financing through a network of cooperating agencies. We’ve made a huge territory, the 15 rural counties, small through our common mission.”

With this award, the development corporation has now received $4.7 million from USDA, allowing it to finance more than 70 businesses and create and retain more than 1,200 jobs throughout rural Nevada.  

RNDC Lending Administrator Mary Kerner, who wrote the successful application, indicated that RNDC has recently played an important role in keeping businesses going during the current credit crunch through debt refinancing and replacing business lines of credit that have been withdrawn by commercial banks. 

A featured success was Peek Brothers Construction in Fernley. The owner was in the construction business but had often been laid off for a few months of the year.

With RNDC financing, he started his own small company and has been able to win bids on projects in the area, including the Fallon Naval Air Station. With his success, he was able to secure a line of credit from a commercial bank as well.

Another featured success was the Silver Springs Airport in Silver Springs. Without a fueling facility, the airport was severely limited in its ability to market itself to the recreational and commercial aviation sectors. RNDC provided the loan for the facility, which recently had a ribbon-cutting celebration.

“We take a lot of pride in being here for rural businesses,” said CEO Ferrel Hansen. “But RNDC’s financing is not for the guy with the design of the next mouse trap on the back of a napkin. It is for the serious business owner or entrepreneur who has the experience, has done the market analysis, and shows the commitment to financial management that makes them likely to succeed.” 

USDA Rural Development State Director Sarah Adler made the announcement at RNDC’s annual meeting in Ely on July 26. She was joined in the announcement by Karen Rajala, RNDC Board Member and Coordinator of the White Pine County Economic Diversification Council.

Adler, who at the time worked for the Nevada Commission on Economic Development, and Rajala wrote the application that provided start-up funding for RNDC in 1992 and are founding incorporators of the organization.

Also present was Caren Street, legislative aide for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

“These are the results Senator Reid looks for from federal programs, creating jobs and growing businesses throughout the state, and he appreciates the efforts of the entire board and staff in this important work,” Street said.

Businesses interested in learning more about RNDC as a potential source of financing are encouraged to call 775-289-8519.