SEED$ Planting the Foundation for Business Growth
The Southeast Economic Development Fund (SEED$) has been helping aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners establish, build and expand their businesses since 2013. The nonprofit organization serves an eight-county area in Southeast Missouri: St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Washington, Madison, Iron, Perry, Bollinger and Cape Girardeau.
SEED$ is committed to helping small businesses grow and create jobs through one-on-one business coaching and workshops that are held to benefit both startups and existing businesses. Training topics cover a range of issues, including “lean startup,” credit building, record keeping, cash flow and customer development.
“On November 18, we took a group of people around to three businesses that have borrowed from SEED$ to show the impact we have had on the region,” said Patti Adams, SEED$ business and lending specialist. “We had a great meal at a new residential boys home, had homemade ice cream at a destination restaurant and learned how to keep sawmill employees happy and safe, and somehow managed to keep dry on a very rainy day.”
SEED$ has counseled and trained more than 200 small business owners and entrepreneurs in a variety of industries, including service, retail, food, manufacturing and hospitality. Additionally, eight loans totaling $362,500 have been approved with 54 full-time and two part-time jobs retained and/or created as a result of those loans.
“One of the reasons that we exist,” said Janey Radford, SEED$ business development coach, “is because there are a lot of people that are not able to get financing through the bank or other traditional means. Or maybe they’re able to get partial funding, but it’s not enough We don’t compete with the banks (and) we don’t try to take loans away from them…We work together on (loans). Our relationship with the banks in the area has been wonderful. They make referrals to us and we make referrals to them.”
Although SEED$ follows strict criteria for business lending and financing, its guidelines allow for consideration of loans that are outside of typical bank requirements. The organization has also been awarded grant funding from multiple sources:
- August 2015 - Washington County Industrial Development Authority granted $250,000 to be used as loans to small businesses in Washington County.
- February 2016 - Received a $75,519 Rural Business Development Grant (RBDG) through USDA Rural Development to assist in providing financial and business services to entrepreneurs, small and micro-businesses and job-generating agencies across Southeast Missouri.
For more information about the services available or to make an appointment with a business development coach, call 573-431-4296 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. SEED$ is located at 5 Municipal Dr. in the renovated train depot building.
Other resources in the Southeast region that can help you start and grow your business include:
Full article on the Daily Journal Online
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