New loan program will assist local businesses

A new fund announced this week will provide a total of $750,000 for loans to Marquette County entrepreneurs to get loans for equipment or working capital.

We think this new effort developed by the Lundin Foundation, Eagle Mine and Northern Initiatives will provide a good deal of new opportunity for the county’s start-up and existing businesses.

After the Lundin Mining Corp. purchased the Eagle Mine from Rio Tinto last summer, the Toronto-based company held meetings with area stakeholders in an effort to determine how the company might most usefully contribute to the long-term economic development in the region.

The paramount concern emerging from the meetings was the need to create and retain jobs through supporting growth of non-traditional sectors.

The newly created Eagle Emerging Entrepreneurs Fund will provide affordable loans to clients lacking collateral or a credit history and will allow Northern Initiatives to create flexibility in structuring repayments. Marquette County residents or businesses may apply for the funds.

Northern Initiatives will manage the fund and will assess and approve eligible loans. Loans will generally range from $5,000 to $50,000 with a maximum of five years to repay.

Loan applications will be accepted year-round.

“By partnering with a well-established local organization like Northern Initiatives we’re able to leverage

our commitment to strengthening the region’s economy”, Paul McRae, senior vice president, projects at the Lundin Mining Corp. said in a news release. “The Fund compliments a number of local organizations and programs involved with economic development, including Accelerate U.P.”

The Lundin Foundation will provide additional financial support to Northern Initiatives to support the development of a dedicated online business assessment portal to assist prospective clients of the fund, assess their strengths and weaknesses and access customized training and coaching.

We thinks these new efforts are worthy endeavors and we look forward to seeing the results come to fruition across Marquette County.