Fund receives award
Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010 10:49 am
The Messenger 04.12.10
The Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund, a first of its kind $10 million economic development fund providing loans to small businesses in rural Tennessee, has been awarded the 2010 National Community Reinvestment Award from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council.
The award recognizes the work of financial institutions that are advancing innovative solutions to the challenges facing lower-income and distressed communities.
The fund is a public-private partnership between the State of Tennessee, 23 member banks of the Tennessee Bankers Association and Southeast Community Cap-ital Corporation (SCC) that utilizes a unique collaborative access to capital strategy to lend to small businesses in Tennessee’s rural communities.
It is a component of the Rural Opportunity Initiative, a three-pronged strategy unveiled by Gov. Phil Bredesen in fall of 2007 to bolster economic growth in rural areas.
Launched in 2007 and operated by Southeast Com-munity Capital, the Rural Opportunity Fund is expected to generate $25 million in loans and finance over 350 small, minority- and women-owned businesses that will create more than 600 new jobs over 10 years. To date, the fund has originated over $9 million in loans to 44 businesses, creating nearly 200 new jobs and retaining about 400 existing positions.
Almost 70 percent of the loans have been made to women and/or minority-owned businesses.
“There is an overwhelming need for small business capital in rural Tennessee and we are focused on getting our resources in the hands of those who need it most,” said Southeast Community Capital president Clint Gwin.
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