Nearly $600K approved for rural development | SierraSun.com

Nearly $600K approved for rural development

Sun staff reports

Three projects in Sierra County will share $595,000 with the aim of reducing that county’s unemployment rate, which is twice the state average.

The Sierra Economic Development Corporation will give $45,000 for a loan program to support the extension of broadband service into Sierra County, $500,000 for a loan program to support businesses throughout the rural SEDCorp area, and $50,000 to develop business plans for wood pellet and pellet stove manufacturing in the Loyalton Business Park in Sierra County.

With the U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded rural business loan program, SEDCorp can now accept applications for business loans up to $150,000. These loans can be used for equipment, inventory, supplies, furniture, vehicles, and working capital. The higher loan limit works with SEDCorp’s recent expansion of its Small Business Administration lending area that now extends from El Dorado County north through the Sierra to the Oregon border. Since 1999, SEDCorp has provided over $1.6 million in loan funds to more than 80 businesses. The SBA microloan program has a lending maximum of $35,000.

“We now have a lot of money to lend at very attractive rates for a variety of business purposes,” said SEDCorp CEO Brent Smith. “We’re especially interested in talking to Internet service providers about providing the capital they need to extend their services into Sierra County and the other rural areas we serve.”

Smith said that extending broadband service into rural areas will open new employment opportunities for home-based Internet businesses.

Founded in 1969, SEDCorp is one of California’s oldest continually operating economic development organizations. It is a non-profit corporation funded by a combination of public and private sources for the preservation and growth of jobs in the counties of El Dorado, Placer, Nevada and Sierra. For further information, contact SEDCorp at 530-823-4703 or visit http://www.sedd.org.