Community Futures has been able to disburse about 3.5-million dollars in the Midwest region over this past year with the funding they get from the Federal government.
The organization has a 30-plus year lineage in the area and officials say despite the challenges the region has faced, it continues to weather the storm through offering business relief and recovery loans.
General Manager Corinne McGirr says they have been very fortunate to be able to offer this assistance. They are seeing a lot of optimism on the part of businesses as they are re-opening.
“We get a great entrepreneurial spirit being generated by hard times. We are definitely seeing that here. [We are] processing a lot of inquiries; a lot of business planning. Particularly since April, we have worked with already over a dozen businesses that are looking to start or launch.”
McGirr says they are fielding questions with regard to succession businesses where there are inquiries about purchasing an existing business. She says she is seeing some caution as people try to surmount the challenges of the last year.
“Lots of people are still just hesitant. They are still hesitant about going back to work for somebody. They are hesitant about going into a business. I think that is rapidly coming to an end. I expect the Fall and the Winter to be quite active for everyone.”
McGirr says one of the programs she is happy about is where they are supporting female entrepreneurs.
“One of the great programs that we are working on right now is called Project Gazelle. It’s a specific initiative to help support and network with women entrepreneurs. We have a three year contract to operate this program.”
Community Futures is reporting some 58 projects this past year as well as creating or maintaining about 180 jobs in the Midwest.