There’s a new initiative for Missouri’s small business community and farmers. On Thursday, State Treasurer Eric Schmitt, R, joined business and finance leaders at the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce to launch the Missouri FIRST (Financing Investment in our Rural, Small Business and Technology communities) program, which revamps the state’s program providing low-interest loans to small businesses and agriculture operations.
For one, the single-use restriction for borrowers has been lifted, allowing them to apply for another loan after their five-year term is up.
“Small businesses and farms are the backbone of our state’s economy, but many that were set back by the recession have been struggling to grow ever since,” Schmitt said. “Missouri FIRST will create jobs for hardworking Missourians and revitalize Main Street by encouraging investment in our state’s economy. This program is about expanding opportunity and reaching our fullest economic potential as a state.”
Other changes through the Missouri FIRST initiative are:
• Unnecessary yearly certifications have been eliminated to reduce the amount of paperwork needed from borrowers.
• The eligibility criteria have been expanded for agricultural loans to increase accessibility.
• The linked deposit application process has been streamlined and made more efficient.
• The internal process for linked deposits is being moved to a digital interface, which will speed up the approvals for borrowers and save money for Missouri taxpayers
Hart Nelson, Vice-President of Public Policy for the St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce, says this will benefit Missouri’s economy.
“It has the potential to revitalize small business and the entrepreneurial community here in Missouri and enable them to succeed.” Nelson said.
There are about 115 qualified lenders for this program in the state available to small businesses and agricultural operations.
By Missourinet contributor Jill Enders