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Opportunity Funds gets more money

By: Bismark Tribune

MANDAN, N.D.  –The North Dakota Opportunity Fund secured $3.3 million in more funding for small businesses in the 38-community consortium. It is the third disbursement from the U.S. Treasury Department’s State Small Business Credit Initiative.

The group of cities is receiving more funds after making business loan commitments totaling $7.5 million. In October, when the consortium exceeded loan commitments for 80 percent of the $6.4 million received in its first two payments, it requested a third disbursement. Loan approvals since then have hinged upon receiving the final round of funding. When business loan recipients repay their loans it replenishes the funds, and other businesses can be helped.

Uses allowed by the fund include business start-up costs, working capital, business procurement, franchise fees, equipment, inventory, and the purchase, construction, renovation or improvements of an eligible place of business.

The consortium was originally awarded $9.71 million in September 2012.

Cities benefitting from projects to date are Beach, Bismarck, Beulah, Carson (providing sponsorship for a project in Heil), Casselton, Dickinson, Fargo, Mandan, Minot, Watford City, West Fargo (providing sponsorship for a project in Mapleton), and Williston. It has three manufacturers, 10 retail stores, three restaurants, two hotels, and six service sector businesses. Loans range from $8,000 to $1 million. The fund has helped keep 105 jobs and create 270 jobs with the participating businesses.

Ellen Huber, business development director for the city of Mandan, lead municipality for the consortium, said the group’s loan program has leveraged more than $55 million in private sector financing for 24 businesses in 12 communities.

Other municipalities in the Mandan consortium 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, McClusky, Minot, Mott, New England, New Salem, Regent, Sentinel Butte, Steele, Turtle Lake, Underwood, Watford City, West Fargo, Williston and Wilton; and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

For more information about the North Dakota Opportunity Fund, call 701-667-7620 or by visiting www.lewisandclarkrdc.org.

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