During Small Business Week, RPC Reminds Area Entrepreneurs of the Unique Opportunities Available to Them

Two aspiring business owners make plans at a restaurant booth

**Kathy Larson will host an information session about the RPC’s financing programs on Tuesday, May 7, from 12-1pm at the Illinois Small Business Development Center (1817 S. Neil Street, Suite 100, Champaign). The event is free to attend, but registration is required to secure a spot. Interested individuals can RSVP online at cusbdc.org/events, e-mail info@cusbdc.org, or call 217-378-8535.**

Since 1983, the RPC’s Economic Development Division has been a central resource for a variety of innovative financing programs. Whether it’s for a business, an organization, or a municipality in East Central Illinois, the RPC makes these programs available for projects that cannot fully access conventional lending resources, helping contribute to the region’s economic development.

During this National Small Business Week (May 5-11), RPC Economic Development Specialist Kathy Larson encourages current and prospective business owners to contact her and see how the RPC can assist their entrepreneurial plans.

What kinds of programs are available for small business owners?

Kathy Larson: “Our programs can help fill in financing gaps for a variety of projects. These include the Intermediary Relending Program (IRP), which offers loans between $5,000 and $250,000 for businesses, organizations, and governments in communities with less than 25,000 population in Champaign, Douglas, Ford, Iroquois, Piatt, and Vermilion Counties; and the Champaign County Community Development Corporation (CDC), which provides financing to businesses located anywhere in Champaign County and surrounding communities. Each of the CDC loans should be matched by member bank financing. Participating member banks include BankChampaign, Busey Bank, Central Illinois Bank, Chase Bank, First Midwest Bank, Midland States Bank, and PNC Bank.  Each of our programs can consider financing up to 50% of the total project cost.”

What are the benefits of utilizing one of the RPC’s financing programs?

KL: “There are several reasons business owners should consider our programs. We offer borrowers flexible terms, affordable interest rates, long-term fixed-rate financing, lower down-payment requirements, and reduced private-lender risk. We analyze and structure an attractive financing proposal based upon program requirements, project needs, employment, community impact, and private sector participation.”

Who is eligible for these programs?

KL: “The requirements vary by program and include financing opportunities for expanding businesses, start-up businesses, revenue-generating organizations, and municipalities. Start-up businesses should be led by strong entrepreneurs with a drive to succeed, and fortunately we have plenty of those in our community. They should have reasonably secure collateral, bank participation, and/or a high level of owner equity investment. Meanwhile, expanding businesses should have a solid track record of past success. All projects require additional funding sources and sound financial projections.”

How does a small business owner or entrepreneur apply for an RPC loan?

KL: “They can visit the RPC’s website, where they can find details on the application process and the different items they need for financing consideration. They are also welcome to contact me at 217-819-4101 or klarson@ccrpc.org.”

What are some of the projects in East Central Illinois that the RPC has worked with on financing programs?

KL: “We have helped a diverse range of businesses and organizations, from manufacturing companies to music businesses. A few examples you can see around the area include Forever Glamorous Beauty Supply, Pear Tree Estate, and The Upper Bout in Champaign; Common Ground Food Co-Op and H20 Salon and Spa in Urbana; Star BBQ in Savoy; and Holiday Inn Express in Rantoul. Community projects that we have assisted in the region include the community facility in Ludlow, infrastructure projects in Philo, and courthouse annex in Tuscola.”

Is there anything else that you would like to mention about the RPC financing programs?

KL: “As a well-established participant in the financing field, the RPC has closed more than 441 loans totaling over $28 million throughout Champaign County and surrounding communities.  We have a great team at the RPC, and we are happy to discuss any projects for financing in order to help development in the community. In addition, by having so many proactive local agencies and financial institutions to partner with, it is well worth the time to check out the resources that we each can pool together.”

Leave a Reply

Please be respectful. All fields are required, and all comments are subject to moderation. URLs are not allowed.