If you come to SWIF wanting to start a business, chances are you’ll talk to Berny Berger. Since her hiring in 1998, she’s been working with entrepreneurs and go-getters to make their dreams into realities. Now, 19 years later, she’s performed in nearly every position SWIF has.
The Microenterprise Loan Program got it’s debut in 2001 thanks to Berny. Since inception, she’s has worked hard on it’s success. In fiscal year 2016 alone, 28 new microloans were closed, totaling $439,100. Berny’s work has helped to create and retain jobs in southwestern Minnesota. As of September 2016, there have been nearly $5 million in total microloans since the program’s birth.
A woman known for her heart and capacity to care, Berny is deeply passionate about our entrepreneurs. She became familiar with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and contacted the state representative; today she continues seeking funding and managing reporting. Now, alongside supporting current and potential microloan clients, the Microenterprise Program also supports small business education through events like Social Media Breakfasts and Social Media Rock Star Conferences.
Come January 13th, Berny will be retiring from SWIF. Berny’s work in economic development, community impact and community philanthropy has quite literally changed the lives of entrepreneurs throughout our region. When she puts her mind to something, she is a force to be reckoned with, and as a result, SWIF’s Microenterprise Program is renowned throughout the state and nation.