A new loan program from Southwest Rural Economic Area Partnership (SW REAP) may be an option for businesses looking for a small, interest-free loan.

In the fund’s first six months, Dunn County Jobs Development Authority Director Carroll Gjovik has accessed the fund for several Dunn County businesses.

Marlys and John O’Brien of Halliday used the loan fund to put a new roof on the town’s grocery store that they purchased. A Killdeer woman accessed the loan fund to build a fence around a new day care she started in town. Another Dunn County business used the loan fund to market its new business.

“Businesses are interested in the program because it allows them to access interest-free money for three years. Plus the initial repayment doesn’t start for the first six months of the loan,” Gjovik said.

“New business owners like the fund because they have time to actually get started before they have to start paying back the loan,” she added.

The region’s economic developers recommended that the SW REAP Board create this new loan fund to further its mission. SW REAP’s mission is to alleviate out-migration, increase job and business opportunities and encourage partnerships for economic development. The fund is one more tool that SW REAP has to offer in the southwest corner of North Dakota.

Gjovik said, “The region’s economic developers feel that this fund helps the small businessperson who needs a small impetus to get done what he or she needs to get done.”

The fund offers a three-year, interest-free loan for up to $5,000 that the borrower matches dollar for dollar. Interested individuals need to contact their county economic developer or jobs development authority director. The county economic development board determines if it will recommend the business for the loan. The developer brings the county-approved loan proposal to the SW REAP Board.