Great River Energy recommits to northeast Minnesota non-traditional lender forums

Great River Energy recommits to northeast Minnesota non-traditional lender forums Main Photo

9 Feb 2023

economic development, GRE

Great River Energy has joined regional economic development nonprofits and government EDAs over the past six years at locations all over northeast Minnesota to discuss the variety of economic development lending programs available to new and expanding businesses. 

Often referred to as “gap financing” or “non-traditional financing,” the programs highlighted by this group include a range of grants and loan options designed to complement traditional bank financing and equity investments. This ability helps complete the total budget for a project and gets them moving.

Each program is a little different. Some focus on rural areas and exclude larger metros like Duluth, while others may be specific to the cities or counties hosting that forum. Some are more risk-averse in assessing collateral but offer interest rates as low as 0%, making them ideal for established businesses looking to grow. Others might charge a higher interest rate but are more willing to take a risk to accommodate starts-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs.

In addition to the regular on-going loan and grant programs, many of these same nonprofits also administer new state and federal programs, offering short-term opportunities to secure necessary capital for qualified projects. 

Yet given the many details related to program eligibility requirements, financing terms and the application processes, the average business owner might not know where to start. The non-traditional lender forums make it easy, providing a general overview and a way to engage the people who can help you apply.

In northeast Minnesota, these forums feature a core set of presenters from the Arrowhead Regional Development Commission, Entrepreneur Fund, Northland Foundation, Northland Small Business Development Centers, Northspan Group, Minnesota Business Financing Corporation, and the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources. These presenters are often augmented by local gap lenders from the host communities.

Great River Energy’s economic development service team is pleased to be joining this group again in 2023 to talk about the low-interest loan programs its 27 member-owner cooperatives can offer to new and expanding businesses in their service areas. These include the revolving loan funds many of the organization’s members host on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in addition to loan programs offered by Great River Energy.

Keep an eye on your inbox as the schedule of northeast host communities is announced. And if your regional community is interested in hosting similar events, please contact Jeff Borling, economic development lead at Great River Energy, to learn how to make these forums a lasting success: or 218-355-8088.

Also, if you are a member-owner cooperative of Great River Energy that has been invited to participate in a similar presentation on economic development and gap financing, consider reaching out to learn how you can utilize Great River Energy’s economic development team to help with these presentations and free up time for other priorities.

Together, we can help get timely information to Minnesota businesses who are ready to expand, so they continue to grow alongside the communities we serve.