Growing Businesses with New Partnership
At the end of 2014, we launched our Growth Loan to help solve an access to capital issue for growing small businesses that may not meet the traditional requirements of banks. Since then, we’ve approved more than $350,000 in non-collateralized Growth Loans to an array of small business owners throughout the Louisville and Southern Indiana region. All of these loans have been approved by a volunteer loan committee made up of small business owners, attorneys, bankers, microfinance experts, and community representatives. We’re thrilled to have reached this milestone, and are taking a moment to announce a new partnership that will help us reach even more small business owners.
In Louisville, as well as many other communities across the country, the local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is an invaluable free resource for entrepreneurs. As of the beginning of 2017, we established a partnership with our very own Louisville SBDC to provide enhanced technical assistance for Growth Loan applicants, loan package generation, and borrower advocacy within our loan committee.
This partnership is beneficial to the community in many ways. The application process for the Growth Loan was designed from the ground up with technical assistance in mind. We think it’s critical that every applicant benefit from participating in the process regardless of approval. The SBDC will certainly take the technical assistance portion to the next level. They will also be able to provide additional decision making information to our committee with their nationwide database.
The SBDC is a well established connector of small business resources, which means they’re one of the first touch points for business owners who are a perfect fit for the Growth Loan. We’re very excited to work with such a well established community resource to deploy more Growth Loan capital to local small businesses in 2017!
The mission of the SBDC is to help entrepreneurs start, grow and fund their businesses and the Access Ventures Growth Loan program fits very nicely within that mission.
Small Business Development Center
Our two most recent examples of Growth Loan recipients are Victory Hemp Foods and Louisville Cream. Both entities needed more capital than was available through the traditional banking sources. Extra cash was being reinvested, and both were still establishing a consistent history of business activity.
Chad Rosen moved from California to Kentucky after attending the Village Capital AgTech Accelerator in Louisville and seeing the efforts being made to allow THC free hemp production in the state. Victory Hemp Foods sells bulk hemp ingredients such as hemp oil, hearts, and protein. In addition to the products themselves, Victory Hemp Foods is creating much needed demand within our young Kentucky hemp industry. The vast majority of Hemp in the market on US shelves is actually grown in Canada while Victory Hemp Foods works predominately with Kentucky farmers.
Victory Hemp Foods is still less than 2 years old. Revenues are low, but the potential is high. Chad was seeking additional capital for more inventory and help with a move into a new production facility which would lower costs, increase production, and result in more revenue to farmers. He sought out numerous avenues to capital including state grants, direct investment, and various partnerships. Lack of collateral and time in business were always an issue. Where Chad was not able to gain approval through traditional underwriting methods, he was able to gain approval through the social underwriting process of the Growth Loan.
The mentoring system is a big factor for us to go with Access Ventures.
Darryl Goodner, Lynette Ruby and Zach Hardin all co-own Louisville Cream. Louisville Cream is a local small batch ice cream company that uses local grass-fed milk to make interesting flavors. They make all of their mix-in’s in house and partner with other local businesses to create interesting locally inspired ice cream. Their commitment to quality local ingredients cannot be overstated enough. Darryl works directly with their farmers to create the most ideal milk possible as the base for their delicious ice cream.
Louisville Cream was born out of a passion for creating unique ice cream flavors. Darryl has been creating ice cream since childhood, and had dreamed of it becoming more than a hobby with his friend Zach. Lynette eventually joined the mix and the three decided to launch Louisville Cream as a mobile concept. Many Louisvillians likely remember their first taste while shopping at the hip Flea off Market downtown.
Business has picked up over the past two years, and the next big step in leveraging their early success is to open a brick and mortar scoop shop. There were some savings but not enough to complete the build out, purchase new equipment, train new employees, and buy all of the wonderful local ingredients. Again, through the social underwriting process of the growth loan, Louisville Cream was able to leverage a mixture of character, performance, and potential to access a large portion of the capital they needed to expand. Like many small businesses owners, the road to bankability often involves layering in capital from multiple sources. Both Victory Hemp Foods and Louisville Cream have benefited from crowdfunded 0% interest Kiva loans as well.
If you’re a small business in need of capital, we’d love to hear from you! Click here to complete a brief questionnaire. Our new partner, the Louisville SBDC, will then reach out to determine if a Growth Loan is right for your situation.
Written by David Taliaferro @dtaliaferro