During a visit to Cork, a premium wine and specialty food establishment on Stowe Street in downtown Waterbury Monday, Governor Peter Shumlin, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials, and staff from Senator Patrick Leahy’s office, Senator Bernie Sanders’ and Congressman Peter Welch’s office announced that the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) has been awarded a $1 million USDA Rural Development Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loan to support and expand small business lending. The new award will help VEDA to continue making USDA-supported loans to small businesses like Cork.
“USDA’s intermediary relending program aims to inject capital into rural communities where entrepreneurs struggle to find access to affordable capital,” said Ted Brady, USDA Rural Development State Director for Vermont and New Hampshire. “The recently passed Agricultural Act of 2014, or Farm Bill, reauthorizes this vital program ensuring VEDA and other community lenders can continue assisting small businesses create jobs and opportunity in rural America.”
“USDA’s IRP funds are integral to the expansion of VEDA’s ability to provide low-cost financing to small businesses throughout Vermont,” said Jo Bradley, VEDA Chief Executive Officer. “These funds help the Authority leverage additional private and other resources to these small business projects, and keep the financing at attractively-low interest rates for the borrower.”
The officials were joined by Cork owner Danielle Nichols, who utilized $50,000 in USDA-supported VEDA financing in 2011 to establish the start-up wine bar/specialty shop in one of downtown Waterbury’s flagship historic buildings. Since then, the popular business has grown to employ seven people.
“I wanted to invest in Waterbury because this is my community and there is a budding food scene taking hold here,” said Nichols, who grew up in Stowe. “But even after investing my own savings, I needed affordable and flexible capital to make my dream a reality. VEDA and the USDA helped fill that gap and enabled me to be part of Waterbury’s vibrant downtown.”
“These USDA funds are especially important to grow businesses in rural areas, where it’s not as easy for entrepreneurs to secure financing,” Gov. Shumlin said. “In partnership with VEDA, this federal loan program guarantees affordable, flexible capital is available to create jobs across Vermont.”
“This program is just one more example of how the Farm Bill is a job creator for Vermont’s economy, ” said Senator Patrick Leahy, the senior-most member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “Over the last 25 years USDA has used it lending ability to help Vermont companies looking to grow businesses and create jobs, and this announcement is further proof of its success.”
"The $1M award will support small businesses and help create new jobs in rural Vermont” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “I applaud the good work by the Vermont Economic Development Authority and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for making this award possible."
"In Vermont, we have no shortage of entrepreneurial spirit. But getting a great business idea off the ground requires affordable financing. Now that we have a Farm Bill, funding for USDA rural lending is finally on solid footing. With these funds, VEDA will be able to help more businesses like Cork succeed in our rural communities" said Congressman Peter Welch.
Another $1 million USDA award to VEDA was announced in September. The two investments bring USDA Rural Development’s total IRP investment in VEDA to $9.7 million since 1989. Those investments have helped VEDA make more than 240 loans to small business owners like the Nichols and create or save more than 2000 jobs.
VEDA provides small business loans throughout Vermont. Business loans must be supported by collateral and cash flow. VEDA currently sources the majority of its business lending funds by borrowing from private capital markets at variable interest rates. By accessing and blending the long-term, fixed rate USDA RD funding with its private capital, VEDA is able to offer its small business loans at very favorable rates that result in lower interest rates for Vermont businesses. The VEDA-USDA RD relationship is a model of Federal, State and private resources that works efficiently and supports a climate of business start-up and expansion.
About USDA Rural Development:
USDA Rural Development is a mission area within the United States Department of Agriculture and provides financial resources to support housing, essential community facility, water and wastewater, business, energy and cooperative programs in rural communities. USDA Rural Development has a national portfolio of $197 billion in assets. Services are delivered by local field offices located in Montpelier, Brattleboro and St. Johnsbury, Vermont and Concord, Conway and Berlin, New Hampshire. For more information about Rural Development, please visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vt/Home.html or call 802-828-6080.
About Vermont Economic Development Authority:
Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is Vermont’s statewide economic development finance lender. VEDA was created by the General Assembly in 1974 with a mission “to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.”
Over the years, VEDA has grown and adapted its financing programs to keep pace with an ever-changing economy. VEDA offers a variety of low-cost lending options including direct loans, tax-exempt bond issuances and loan guarantees to businesses and farms of all sizes tailoring each offering to meet the needs of the business. VEDA typically lends in conjunction with banks and other partners to achieve truly customized financial offerings.
Since 1974, VEDA has provided over $2.0 billion in financial assistance to Vermont’s thriving entrepreneurs and family farms helping them in turn to create jobs to support vibrant communities. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org or call 802-828-JOBS.