Microfinance works

The Globe and Mail out of Toronto has a great read today on the importance of microfinance.  As many of you know, microfinance is the engine that has driven our growth for 10 years in Ord and Valley County.  Nearly a full third of our 104 new businesses have used local microfinancing to start-up, grow, expand or rebuild.  The Globe and Mail details microfinance’s impact:

“A local credit union in Toronto was offering small loans to people with low credit scores or no credit history, provided they formulate a business plan. Mr. Tsiriotakis applied, and got $5,000, which he used to buy bottles and pay shipping costs for more barrels of oil.

Acropolis Organics now distributes almost half a million dollars worth of olive oil and balsamic vinegar a year into U.S. and Canadian markets. Mr. Tsiriotakis, 35, says he’s doing “very well,” acquiring a fleet of vehicles and holidaying in places like Brazil. He’s also a taxpayer who now employs two full-time and six part-time workers.”

Ord has experienced similar results. I drafted some figures for a colleague in Norfolk last night that puts our results into perspective:
– 104 new businesses, 17 expansions and 21 business transfers
– 225 new jobs created from 2001-2008
– Total non-farm wage and salary employment in Valley County increased 15.9 percent (239 jobs) from 2001 to 2008, compared to a 5.6 percent increase for Nebraska as a whole, a 3.7 percent increase in metropolitan Nebraska, and a 2.2 percent increase in non-metropolitan Nebraska.” (Overhue, 2010).
– Strongest retail pull since 1991
– Total labor force growth of 9.0% between 2001-2008

Don’t just take it from me.  We’ve been recognized regularly (as has our business community) on a national scale for our efforts.  If you have interest in the “how” of our microfinance programs, have a look at three programs that can help your business grow:

Ord City sales tax loan program (4% interest loans)
Valley County business corridor improvement program (0% interest loans)
Revitalize Downtown Ord loan program (0% interest loans)

Microfinance works.  Feel free to join us as we build rural America from the bottom up.



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