May 26, 2021
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.
RPC Economic Development Specialist Kathy Larson encourages current and prospective business owners to contact her and see if the RPC can assist their entrepreneurial plans.
What kinds of programs are available for small business owners?
Kathy Larson: “Two of our programs currently have availability. One is our 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. The other is our 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 also include financing from a member bank. Participating member banks include BankChampaign, Busey Bank, CIBM Bank, Chase Bank, First Midwest Bank, Midland States Bank, and PNC Bank. 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 benefits in our programs. We offer borrowers flexible terms, affordable interest rates, long-term fixed-rate financing, 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. Our financing programs can be used to supplement bank financing and/or other government agency funds for projects, to fill in financing gaps for project completion.”
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, which we are fortunate to have in our region. Expanding businesses should have a history of past success. All projects require additional funding sources and detailed financial projections.”
How does a small business owner or entrepreneur apply for an RPC loan?
KL: “They can visit the Financing Programs page on our website, where they can find information about the application process and the different items they need for financing consideration. They are also welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-819-4101.”
What are some of the projects in East Central Illinois that the RPC has worked with on financing programs?
KL: “We have helped a wide range of projects, from manufacturing companies to music businesses to food service. A few examples you can see around the area include Flying Machine Avionics and Caribbean Grill in Champaign; Soccer Planet and Motel 6 in Urbana; and Star B.B.Q. in Savoy. Community projects that we have assisted in the region include the community facility in Ludlow, infrastructure projects in Philo, the courthouse annex in Tuscola, and a contained waste/sewer system in downtown Royal.”
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 450 loans totaling over $28 million throughout Champaign County and surrounding communities. We have a great team and are happy to discuss any projects for financing in order to assist development throughout the region. Also, by having so many proactive regional agencies and financial institutions to partner with, it is very beneficial to seek out the resources that we each can provide together.”