Since the beginning of 2016 an impressive number of small businesses in southwest Minnesota have received loan support through our Microenterprise Loan Program.
Southwest Initiative Foundation’s microloan program provides business loans up to $50,000 to start-ups and existing businesses. Recipients also receive education as part of the loan process, including assistance with finances, training and marketing.
New recipients of the microloan program since January include:
- Kyaw S. Hang of the Happy Family Asian Grocery Store in Willmar represents the first Asian grocery for Willmar and will be a great resource for the more than 300 people in Willmar of Karen descent who have driven into St. Paul to acquire groceries. More Karen people are also expected to move into the Willmar area, and so this new business will be an asset to that population in particular, who will save time and money by limiting their travel, explains Jackie Turner, SWIF program officer. The establishment of this business was made possible through our microloan program, the Kandiyohi County & City of Willmar Economic Development Commission, and the Willmar Area Multicultural Business Center.
- Justin Jager of Jager Building Supply in Dawson received a loan. Justin, a Dawson native, owns a family business that has been in operation in Dawson for a number of years. The business deals primarily in lumber and building materials. Justin and his family moved back to the area a few years ago to buy the building supply business and make the area home. Justin received loan assistance through both our microloan and business finance programs.
- Lee and Beth Corti of Café Corti in Willmar looked to SWIF for help to start their business. The café, now open, is located in the same building as Whitney Music, near the MinnWest Technology campus. The restaurant features Italian food, with the Corti’s son as chef and the primary business manager. Lee and Beth help out, as does their daughter. “It is a true family-supported business,” Jackie Turner says.
- Juan & Liseyda Vega of Puperseria in Worthington own an established Salvadorian restaurant in Worthington and had an opportunity to buy the building in which the restaurant is located. The our microloan assisted the couple in the purchase, as did First State Bank Southwest.
- Maria Parga of Mini Market Lupita in Worthington has worked with SWIF for more than 12 years in the operation and growth of her existing grocery, bakery, restaurant, deli, and meat market. Our most recent loan is in combination with loans from the Southwest Regional Development Commission and the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation, and a grant from the Rural Energy for America Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Maria used the loans and grant to buy new coolers and freezers.
- Julie Elder of the Urban Hair Studio in Hutchinson is a current microloan customer. We provided an additional loan to support the growing services of her business, including haircuts, coloring, foils and nails.
- Jennie Harris of Hutchfield Services in Dassel is an ongoing microloan client that requested a working capital microloan. The business provides janitorial, commercial floor and carpet care, window cleaning and construction clean-up services.
Stop in and support these clients when you’re in their area!