For Food & Farm Businesses in Western North Carolina
The Sequoyah Fund and EmPOWERing Mountain Food Systems (EMFS), a project of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems – are teaming up to provide affordable financing and specialized support to small– and mid-scale and limited-resource farmers and food businesses. These services can help them obtain the infrastructure and capital needed to grow and expand their businesses.
What’s the Program For?
This grant/loan program is designed to provide start-up and growth capital for farm and food businesses. Eligible uses can range from basic start-up expenses to equipment and working capital to expand your existing business.
North Carolina businesses who:
- Farm in, produce in, or purchase from producers in the seven western counties of NC (Haywood, Graham, Jackson, Macon, Swain, Cherokee, or Clay) or on the Qualla Boundary.
- Currently sell or process vegetables, fruit, meat or other agricultural products or run other food-related businesses.
- Have a business plan in place for their business.
- Attend at least one counseling session with their local Small Business Center prior to financing.
How Does the Financing Work?
The applicant is eligible for equipment or infrastructure purchases of $15,000 or less.
The EMFS grant will cover up to 30% of the cost of the infrastructure or equipment being purchased. Maximum grant: Up to $4,500 (30% of $15,000).
- Use of funds: Purchase of equipment or infrastructure by eligible businesses.
- Amount: Minimum loan of $1,000
- Terms typically range from 1 to 5 years, depending on loan size and farm/company’s ability to repay.
- Interest rate: Fixed, 5% to 12% as of January 1, 2020.
- Origination fee: 1% of loan amount.
- Collateral: A first lien on equipment or infrastructure to be purchased and additional collateral may be required.
- Guarantee: Personal guaranty by any owner of 20% of more of the enterprise.
- Underwriting includes review of credit report and tax returns.
- Borrower equity: A minimum of 5% required on all loans
How Do I Participate?
Fill out this interest form to see if you are eligible: http://bit.ly/foodfarmloans
- Obtain a quote and/or prepare an enterprise budget for your purchase.
- EMFS will reach out to confirm your eligibility and will connect you with a Sequoyah Fund representative to discuss your financing needs.
- If required, participate in training and/or business counseling as requested.
- Provide The Sequoyah Fund, Inc. with annual tax returns including all statements for the life of the loan.
- Participate in evaluation related to the impact of these funds on your business.
You can also download the The Sequoyah Fund – Operating Capital Brochure here.