Through a partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, Bluestem supports and works with businesses and industries to make application for funding through several different loan programs for new start-up businesses, expansion of existing businesses and community facilities.
The programs in which Bluestem participates are listed below:
New Business and Expansion Projects
Through the business and industry program, Bluestem may apply for 0% loans for new or start-up business, which requires a 20% match of funding, in kind or a monetary match injected by the applicant or 20% in supplemental funding from other sources.
This program is set up with a 2-year deferred payment of principal to Rural Development at 0% interest and requires an irrevocable letter of credit supporting the total amount of the loan from a bank or lending agency. Most lending agencies will assess an annual fee to provide this irrevocable letter of credit and may obligate to do interim financing.
Bluestem will also assess a small administrative fee to be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Expansion Projects of Existing Businesses
This program is the same as above and has the same requirements, with the exception of only 1-year deferred principal payments.
Application Deadlines, Funding and Eligibility
Applications must be submitted prior to the 14th of each month and are evaluated on a quarterly basis. The amount of funding is made available at the beginning of Rural Development's fiscal year beginning October 1st and the amount varies from year to year.
There are many factors which determine eligibility to receive funding through these programs, including but not limited to:
- Job creation for rural areas
- Population of a community and/or rural area
- Median household income
- Number of additional jobs to be created over a number of years after start-up
- Benefit to a community and the surrounding area.