When Marie Kessler wanted to relocate and expand her quilting store, Kessler Kreations, she went to Hillsboro Ventures Inc. for help, which she received through the city’s E-Community program — the “E” is for entrepreneurship.
The program provided part of the financing for the move, as well as helping her prepare a viable business plan.
“They made you take a look at your market and your product, and how you’re going to reach customers,” Kessler said.
She said the program helped her look at many of the factors she would need to consider for success, where she was going, and what she needed to get there.
“I wouldn’t even begin to know where to find half of it” without the program’s help, she said.
She said the loan from the program came with a favorable interest rate, softening some of the hit of also taking a bank loan to finance the expansion. Kessler added that the work with the E-Community program helped prepare her to go to the bank for a loan.
Since Kessler Kreations’ expansion, the store has gained many out-of-town customers, Kessler said.
Kessler Kreations isn’t the first success story from the E-Community program, Hillsboro Ventures Inc. director Clint Seibel said. Another business that received financing, Shred KS, was so successful with the program’s help that it attracted the attention of a larger shredding business, which bought it.
Another applicant prepared its paperwork and business plan with the program, and when it went to a bank for financing, the bank liked the plan so much that it chose to finance the whole project.
“It’s no silver bullet, but it’s part of it,” Seibel said.
Hillsboro received an E-Community designation in 2009 and was awarded $300,000 of tax credits to sell to raise money for its revolving loan fund. The program made one loan its first year and has made seven loans total.
Two loans have been fully paid back, but one had to be written off as a loss, Seibel said. That leaves four loans active, and Seibel is working on another prospective project this year.
He said loan amounts have ranged from $10,000 to $45,000. Statewide, more than half of E-Community loans have been made in cities with populations of 5,000 or less.
To receive funding, a business must develop a business plan — which can be done with assistance from the program — and have personal capital and bank financing as part of its financing.
Seibel said Hillsboro Ventures Inc.’s mission is to assist businesses by surrounding them with the resources they need to grow — planning, financing, and incentives.
“Here comes the E-Community, which fits in perfectly,” he said.
The latest project to receive E-Community financing is Bluejay Lanes, he said.