Economic Development group accepts USDA grant

The Philip Chamber of Commerce has received a $99,000 grant through the Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The grant will help to establish a revolving loan fund that will be used by small businesses for technical assistance. Such assistance may include business planning, financial management, and feasibility studies. The loan fund will help expand rural businesses and is expected to directly assist different businesses, as well as spur job creation.

The West River Foundation of Rapid City, South Dakota, will administer the grant money, and will add its own knowledge and capital to possibly bring in more similar programs. The Foundation has previously received some of its own moneys from USDA and currently manages an $8-million-plus portfolio. Cooperation with local lenders will include such things as parity loans. The Philip Chamber of Commerce will have ultimate control of the grant money. Philip will have a seat with complete veto power on the West River Foundation board, according to Philip Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Parsons.

The RBEG funds are supplemented with a Chamber contribution of $34,000. The Chamber will be able to aid business creation, expansion, and incoming relocation through the revolving loan fund money by contributing toward projects.

“All we did was try to leverage our money.” said Glenn Parsons. “Employment is what we are all about. We are trying to create and incubate new business.” When the money is used and paid back, it can then be matched again, possibly up to four times the original amount. This is just seed money, which is expected to grow.

Midland’s Second Century Development is a similar program from the USDA. There are over thirty such programs available through the USDA.

Jensen said that there was over $250 million put out last year in total USDA activity in South Dakota. Some projects were big, like $31 million for redoing electricity for a city, while some projects are far smaller. Jensen goes on to say that Philip is striving as a unified community. “There are some communities, bigger than Philip, that are not going to make it if there isn’t a mind change.”

Philip Chamber of Commerce President Glenn Parsons, First National Bank President Ray Smith, Philip Public Health Services Administrator David Dick, and Agricultural Loan Officer Roger Porch, officially received the grant for the Philip Chamber of Commerce. State Director Lynn D. Jensen, Rural Development Director Tim Potts, and Rural Development Manager David Adrian officially presented the grant.

To apply for a loan or for more information, contact the Philip Economic Development or the Philip Chamber of Commerce. They will direct the applicant to the West River Foundation.

For more information on rural projects, please call a local USDA Rural Development office or use the website of http://www.rurdev .usda.gov.