The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) has helped area small business owners access the funding their businesses need to establish and grow through a variety of loan programs during the last 30 years.
The MRPC board was briefed on current loan programs, including two that may be in danger of ending in the near future, during its meeting April 11.
Of most concern is the Microenterprise Loan Program, which is funded through a grant by the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
“We all know that with government funding, there is always an expiration date,” MRPC Business Loan Specialist Maria Bancroft said. “They want to see that money out within a certain time period, and we really want to let everyone know that the Microenterprise Loan Program is available, and probably not for too much longer, so we really want to get that funding out there into our region.”
The Microenterprise Loan Program is tailored to small businesses with five or fewer employees seeking a loan of $50,000 or less and must benefit low-to-moderate income employees. Microenterprise loans can be used for working capital, meaning business owners can use the funds to invest in inventory.
Bancroft explained that if the Meramec region loses its Microenterprise Loan Program, one of the region’s Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) programs will also be lost.
“We were using this microenterprise program as a match to the RLF, so if we don’t have that match available, we don’t have that second RLF grant,” Bancroft said.
In addition to the Microenterprise and RLF programs, MRPC also offers a USDA Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) and partners with Meramec Regional Development Corporation (MRDC) to offer Small Business Administration 504 loans.
People interested in the business loan programs offered by MRPC may contact Bancroft by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tonya Price at email@example.com or by calling 573-265-2993.
In other business, the board:
• Approved revisions to MRPC’s employee salary ranges. These ranges are adjusted after the organization’s fiscal department conducts a comparison study, which is conducted every two to three years to ensure MRPC salaries are competitive.
• Learned that the Meramec Community Enhancement Corporation (MCEC) has applied for funding to serve as the administrative entity for the adult literacy program serving Phelps, Crawford and Dent counties.
• Learned that Meramec Regional Community Foundation (MRCF) has awarded five grants to local projects and three scholarships to high school seniors throughout the region.
• Voted to send letters to the Missouri Department of Economic Development requesting that pending wastewater grant requests – especially those made by the cities of Chamois and Edgar Springs – be funded before funds are diverted and set aside for child care learning centers.
Page 2 of 2 - • Approved the fiscal year 2014 work plan with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).