$1 million in USDA funds available for small business lending


During a visit to Cork, a premium wine bar and specialty food establishment on Stowe Street in downtown Waterbury last week, Gov. Peter Shumlin, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials and staff from the offices of U.S. Sens. Patrick Leahy,  Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch announced that the Vermont Economic Development Authority has been awarded a $1 million USDA loan to support and expand small business lending. The new award will help VEDA to continue making USDA-supported loans to small businesses such Cork.

“USDA’s intermediary relending program aims to inject capital into rural communities where entrepreneurs struggle to find access to affordable capital,” said Ted Brady, USDA Rural Development state director for Vermont and New Hampshire.

The funds “are integral to the expansion of VEDA’s ability to provide low-cost financing to small businesses throughout Vermont,” said VEDA CEO Jo Bradley. “These funds help the authority leverage additional private and other resources to these small business projects, and keep the financing at attractively low interest rates for the borrower.”

The officials were joined by Cork owner Danielle Nichols, who utilized $50,000 in USDA-supported VEDA financing in 2011 to establish the start-up wine bar/specialty shop in one of downtown Waterbury’s flagship historic buildings. Since then, the popular business has grown to employ seven people.

“I wanted to invest in Waterbury because this is my community and there is a budding food scene taking hold here,” said Nichols, who grew up in Stowe. “But even after investing my own savings, I needed affordable and flexible capital to make my dream a reality. VEDA and the USDA helped fill that gap and enabled me to be part of Waterbury’s vibrant downtown.”

Shumlin said, “In partnership with VEDA, this federal loan program guarantees affordable, flexible capital is available to create jobs across Vermont.”

Another $1 million USDA award to VEDA was announced in September. The two investments bring USDA Rural Development’s total IRP investment in VEDA to $9.7 million since 1989. Those investments have helped VEDA make more than 240 loans to small business owners like the Nichols and create or save more than 2,000 jobs.

VEDA provides small business loans throughout Vermont.  Business loans must be supported by collateral and cash flow. VEDA currently sources the majority of its business lending funds by borrowing from private capital markets at variable interest rates.

 USDA Rural Development is a mission area within the United States Department of Agriculture and provides financial resources to support housing, essential community facility, water and wastewater, business, energy and cooperative programs in rural communities.  Services are delivered by local field offices located in Montpelier, Brattleboro and St. Johnsbury, Vermont and Concord, Conway and Berlin, New Hampshire. For more information about Rural Development, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/nh-vt/Home.html or call 802-828-6080.


About Vermont Economic Development Authority

Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) is Vermont’s statewide economic development finance lender. VEDA was created by the General Assembly in 1974 with a mission “to contribute to the creation and retention of quality jobs in Vermont by providing loans and other financial support to eligible and qualified Vermont industrial, commercial and agricultural enterprises.”


Over the years, VEDA has grown and adapted its financing programs to keep pace with an ever-changing economy. VEDA offers a variety of low-cost lending options including direct loans, tax-exempt bond issuances and loan guarantees to businesses and farms of all sizes tailoring each offering to meet the needs of the business.  VEDA typically lends in conjunction with banks and other partners to achieve truly customized financial offerings.


Since 1974, VEDA has provided over $2.0 billion in financial assistance to Vermont’s thriving entrepreneurs and family farms helping them in turn to create jobs to support vibrant communities. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org or call 802-828-JOBS.

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About the Author: This item was edited from one or more press releases submitted to The Chester Telegraph.

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