Tribal Lending Organization Receives State Grant to Give Business Loans
By Joe Morey
Bill Beson, a Lac du Flambeau tribal member, is the senior loan officer for First American Capital Corporation (FACC), a business lending organization focusing on Wisconsin’s Indian Country. He visited the LCO Tribal Governing Board (TGB) during their weekly meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, to share some information regarding FACC being awarded a $2.8 million dollar grant from the Wisconsin Department of Administration, of which FACC will use 2.5m to give out business loans to Tribe and tribal-individual owned businesses.
Beson said any tribal member who owns a business or is planning to start one is eligible to apply, regardless of whether on or off Rez, for a loan up to $125,000, depending on their business plan.
Tribal-owned business enterprises can qualify for loans up to $250,000.
“When the money is gone, it’s gone,” Beson explained to the TGB. “So, there is a sense of urgency.”
Beson said they are looking for projects that are ready to go, but, FACC will also help with the application process. He said they also help with writing business plans.
Beson explained that the help includes things such as if you are behind on Quick Books, they help getting caught up for the process, because time is critical.
“These loans are great for a business already in place or a growth stage,” Beson said.
Beson said FACC is a non-profit, so their return is a community return.
The mission of FACC is to perform business development activities that benefit Wisconsin’s Indian Country by increasing access to capital in the form of business loans, providing technical assistance services that strengthen the skills of our entrepreneurs, and by advocating for Indian owned business opportunities, both on and off the reservations.
FACC was formed in 2002 by its sister agency, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (AICCW).
According to their website, in 2001, the then Wisconsin Department of Commerce formed an ad hoc committee to discuss opportunities for economic development within the state’s Native American community. AICCW was asked to serve on this ad hoc committee along with other tribal economic development employees and other tribal leaders. The committee identified that the number one barrier to developing new small businesses and growing existing businesses was limited access to business capital. The idea for a new revolving loan fund was born, and the initial funding to start FACC was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. FACC has been successful in obtaining funding from the US Small Business Administration (SBA), USDA Rural Development, First Nations, Oweesta, the CDFI Fund, Bank of America, and others.
Beson can be reached at 414-604-2044 for more information.