WILLMAR, Minn.— Computer trouble is business as usual for Roy and Beth Stiff. The couple founded KandiComp in Willmar 14 years ago to help customers bring personal computers back to life. Happily, the business has grown, and Stiffs are reinvesting in their venture: Roy and Beth are making building improvements with funding from Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program.
KandiComp is a computer service and sales company that restores non-functioning personal computers (PCs) for a wide range of clients — from individuals to small businesses, students to seniors. Stiffs supplement their service revenues by assembling personalized, made-to-order PCs for retail sale, along with hardware and software.
In many ways, this is a lifestyle business for Roy and Beth. Roy is a former minister, and the couple is intentional about helping those who may not otherwise be able to afford computer assistance, in addition to the average customer.
With the essential function of computers in everyday life, and KandiComp’s stellar customer service, the Stiffs have seen year-over-year growth in their business. Recently, they decided to reinvest in their business by adding a new heating system to the commercial building that houses KandiComp. Financing from SWIF helped Roy and Beth start their business in 2004, and when they looked for assistance with this new investment, SWIF’s microloan program was ready to help again.
“Seeing Roy and Beth reach this level of success with their entrepreneurial venture is exciting,” said SWIF Economic Development Officer Jackie Turner. “SWIF is happy to help them grow their business, adding to the vibrancy of the Willmar community.”
Loan programs have been a key function of SWIF since its inception to support communities and businesses throughout southwest Minnesota. In 2001, microlending was added to existing programs as a tool to support small businesses and people looking for self-employment opportunities by providing market-rate loans.
Microloan clients receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff to improve their business management skills. Areas of support include business planning and financials analysis, QuickBooks training, marketing assistance and other training opportunities for the life of the loan.
This microloan program receives funding assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact SWIF at 800-594-9480, 320-587-4848 or [email protected].
Southwest Initiative Foundation is an independent community foundation supported by individuals, families, businesses, and organizations. Its mission is connecting people, investing in ideas and building communities. Since its founding in 1986, SWIF has contributed more than $75 million through its grant and loan programs. Its business finance programs have helped start or expand more than 700 businesses, which have created or retained more than 8,600 jobs. SWIF has also established 26 community affiliates and more than 100 school, donor-advised and other funds, as well as 16 Early Childhood Initiative coalitions to support young children. SWIF has received 1,730 acres of farmland through our Keep It Growing℠ farmland giving program. In 2016, SWIF launched the Grow Our Own Initiative to align its work and ensure all southwest Minnesota kids have the best start to life. Southwest Initiative Foundation is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To learn more, visit www.swifoundation.org.
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