Initiative to dramatically expand access to capital
Baton Rouge, La. (July 12, 2021) – The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) joined TruFund today in announcing a new $1.1M revolving loan fund (RLF) available for regional businesses to access loans of up to $250,000 for working capital, contract financing, inventory, marketing, and business development.
The RLF will focus primarily on those businesses most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic and most in need of support to recover, specifically those with 50 employees or less and with revenues of less than $3M. The RLF is being initially funded by a three-year grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to provide both short- and long-term financing. Loans will have terms extending from six to 60 months with interest rates between 0 and 10 percent depending on the loan product. RLFs are self-replenishing, with interest and principal payments on old loans used to issue new ones.
“This is a game changer for small business access to capital in the Baton Rouge Area,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC. “The success of the Baton Rouge Area economy is directly linked to the success of the small business community, particularly the ability for small businesses to start up and scale up. Access to capital is fundamental to small business success, yet is often cited as one of the most significant growth challenges. We are excited to be announcing this RLF today to make loans to businesses that typically otherwise would not have access to traditional bank financing.”
The $1.1M fund for the Capital Region will not only allow small businesses the ability to restart and operate following the COVID-19 outbreak and LA Stay-At-Home orders, but also to invest in the adoption of the lessons and best practices in small business resiliency that were learned and reaffirmed during the crisis. To this end, loans and advisory services will also encourage and support investments in technology; infrastructure; the diversification of clients, products and services; equipment upgrades; and other means of expanding operational capacity and building in long-term resiliency. As a result, small businesses served by the RLF will be able to recover from the crisis, adjust to new economic conditions so they can grow, create jobs, build wealth in economically distressed communities, and be in a stronger position to overcome future disruption.
“TruFund is proud to partner with the EDA, BRAC, and other local partners to launch this revolving loan fund in the Capital Region of Louisiana,” said Kim Carter Evans, vice president & managing director of the Southeast Region of TruFund Financial Services, Inc. a participating CDFI. “We are committed to continuing to make investments and to rebuilding a stronger, more resilient small business ecosystem, particularly in communities that have suffered from the lack of access to affordable capital and whose vulnerabilities are now exacerbated by COVID-19 and the related economic impact.”
The Capital Region RLF is the first of TruFund’s in the state. In addition to BRAC, partners in the RLF include regional nonprofit and community based organizations such as Ascension Economic Development Corporation, BUILD Baton Rouge, Capital Region Planning Commission, the City of Baker, City of Central Chamber of Commerce, Greater Pointe Coupee Chamber of Commerce, Iberville Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana State University Small Business Development Center, MetroMorphosis, Southern University Baton Rouge Small Business Development Center, St. Helena Parish Schools, and the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce.
Small businesses interested in applying for a loan through the RLF may contact TruFund Business Development Officers Jay Gaudet at email@example.com or Juan Nathan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Small businesses can also call the TruFund Louisiana office line at (504) 293-5550 or visit trufund.org. BRAC and TruFund will seek local lending partners to assist in connecting regional business owners with funding opportunities.
“EDA is committed to helping communities across Louisiana fight economic hardships brought on by COVID-19,” said Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary of commerce for the EDA. “These EDA investments will directly address the urgent need to provide utility services to those isolating due to COVID-19 and support the long-term resiliency of small businesses throughout Louisiana.”
About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area, working to grow jobs and wealth and to improve the business climate and competitiveness in the region. Today, BRAC investors include more than 1,500 small businesses, mid-sized firms, large industry and entrepreneurial startups, as well as individuals and organizations that support business and economic development. In this capacity, BRAC serves as the voice of the business community, providing knowledge, access, services and advocacy. More information is available at brac.org.
About TruFund Financial Services, Inc.
TruFund Financial Services, Inc. is a wholly independent national nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). TruFund seeks to stimulate economic development in communities that are underserved by traditional banking institutions by providing fair and accessible capital, hands-on technical assistance, and innovative solutions to small businesses and nonprofit organization.