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Chamber's EDC finds new capital funding for area's economic growth

When the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee last met, the committee pledged $25,000 to the South Dakota Rural Enterprise Inc., which is a matching funds program. Philip and other communities will put up money. The money will be pooled and leveraged to a total of $250,000. The goal is to have $1,000,000 pledged from all sizes of area communities by August, 2005.

Since Philip belongs to the Central South Dakota Enhancement District, another $500,000 in loan funds is also available. This pool of borrowable funds will be available to help start new businesses and to help existing businesses expand. The overall goal is to enhance business and employment opportunities in rural South Dakota.

Chamber President Glenn Parsons hopes that, “everyone in our community should think that ‘this might apply to me!’ ” Parsons continued, “Anyone with questions or ideas should not be afraid to ask – not be afraid to talk about their thoughts.”

As a rough comparison, the earlier reported matching funds available through the West River Foundation are a very good source for smaller loans through a locally supervised partnership. The SDREI funds are meant for larger loans.

Through the South Dakota’s Enterprise Institute, an idea “originally scribbled on a napkin” can be taken to a finished product. The institute’s theme of “Innovation Meets Industry” covers the entire marketing realm of an idea. It can assist with start-ups, developing intellectual property, proto-typing, patents and market research.

Freya Simpson, Enterprise Facilitator for the Badlands/South Central Enterprise Facilitation, is available to help people and businesses develop business plans. She will also help monitor any business activity for several years after conception. Simpson is from Hamill, SD., and is the facilitator over nine counties with 225 clients and contacts. She has helped create seven new businesses in the last two years, helped with two buy-outs and two remodeling projects, and has helped create 56 new jobs. All of these businesses continue to do well and their wage impact in the region is $1,167,000.

Simpson spoke to the Philip Chamber of Commerce at their February meeting. She discussed how to start a business, hands-on help, computer help, market analysis, how to lease land, and business plans (which usually requires several tries).

Philip is one of the first in South Dakota to participate in the South Dakota Community Capital Fund (SDCCF), developed by South Dakota Rural Enterprise, Inc. (SDREI). SDCCF is designed to leverage local capital through access to national capital markets.

“The great thing about SDCCF is our ability to originate an unlimited number of loans at up to ten times the amount that Philip has deposited in the fund,” said SDREI President Beth Davis. “There is no limit on the number of loans people can make locally from SDCCF. It’s a great tool for encouraging entrepreneurs, aiding local business expansion or bringing new businesses into the community.”

According to Davis, “Participants in SDCCF have the advantage of offering much larger loans than would be possible with limited existing local funds. In addition to greater lending flexibility for financing local development projects and significantly lower loan risk, participants have the support of a professional fund manager. We think it will significantly enhance the economic strength of Philip.”

The Philip Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Committee are working as intermediaries to pull all these resources together. An idea, whether it concerns something new or improving upon something else, can be the start for a business plan that can get monetary backing, which can lead toward working business strategies, which will not be left to themselves but monitored for growth and continuation. All of the programs require participation of a local lending institution and owner equity.

If you are thinking of starting or expanding a business, or want more information, contact Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Parsons or Roger Porch at the First National Bank in Philip. You may also contact Beth Davis at 605-978-2804 to discuss how this program may work for you.