Small loans are available for the start-up or expansion of manufacturing, service or retail businesses. Technical assistance is also provided before the loan is made and during the loan repayment term.

Staff experienced in business development provides guidance in all aspects of business ownership: management strategies, and goal setting, marketing, personnel, compliance with taxing agencies, and financial management. Sometimes an expert consultant can be hired to provide higher level expertise.

We serve businesses located within the 12 northwest counties of Minnesota served by NMF.

Loans up to $35,000 are available for individuals desiring to start up or expand a small business.

Loans may be used for business start-up and expansion, including machinery and equipment, inventory and working capital. Loans are not to finance real estate.

Length of loan is based on the assets being financed and the amount of the loan. Loan terms can be for up to six years. The interest rate, fixed for the term, changes every few years and is currently 5.5%.

There are no special grant programs in our area to help women go into business. There are also no special loan programs in our region specifically for women. Loan programs to help small businesses get started, such as NMF’s Entrepreneur Development Program, are available to everyone. Women’s applications are reviewed in the same manner as any other loan application.

Perhaps. Our program’s goals and objectives allow us to assist where capital and/or capacity may otherwise limit a bank’s ability to fund.

We encourage you to make use of your existing bank relationships where possible. For loan requests $20,000 or higher, applying to your bank is the first step. Many times we have worked in partnership with area banks.

It depends. Past problems are less important when a good track record has been established more recently.

Staff meets with applicants to review completed applications. A Loan Review Committee appointed by the NMF Board of Directors, makes all funding decisions.

The entire application process may require four to six weeks from the time an application is received until the loan is closed and funds disbursed.

Grants are money that does not have to be paid back. There are advertisements that offer to help you access government funds and grant money for your business. Most of those ads want you to pay a fee to find out the information, and the only one who actually makes money is the person selling you the information.

There are very limited grant funds available to businesses. The grants that are available are not typically related to the business itself, but through a social service program that is helping someone work toward being self-supporting. These grants are typically limited in use and in dollar amount.

NMF cannot legally make a grant to a for-profit business without jeopardizing our own non-profit charitable foundation status.