The Vermont Community Loan Fund is now accepting loan applications through its SPROUT program, a low-interest loan program for emerging Vermont working lands entrepreneurs including farms, food producers & processors, foresters, forest products businesses and others in the start-up and early stages of their operations.Loans from $5,000 to $60,000 may be used for purchase of equipment and inventory, general operations, and facility construction or improvements.
The Loan Fund also provides customized business coaching including marketing, financial planning and more, free of charge for all borrowers.
The SPROUT program launched in 2016 with support from the State of Vermont’s Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. In early 2018, an additional subsidy from WLEI helped to make another round of SPROUT financing possible. Now, private philanthropy has made a third round possible.
“SPROUT provides a powerful tool for emerging working lands businesses who have exciting growth opportunities,” said VCLF Executive Director Will Belongia. “We’re pleased to have partnered with the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative to offer this innovative, one-of-a-kind loan product to Vermont entrepreneurs, and to be able to continue thanks to the generosity of a local philanthropist and longtime friend of the Loan Fund.”
“SPROUT’s flexibility offers working lands businesses that are at an early stage, or facing a critical inflection point, the time and resources they need to grow and succeed,” said VCLF Director of Business Programs Daniel Winslow. “SPROUT helps us extend financing and free business development services to entrepreneurs who otherwise wouldn’t qualify for a VCLF loan.”
Since its 2016 inception, the SPROUT program has loaned over $800,000 to 22 working lands entrepreneurs throughout Vermont.
To learn more, visit investinvermont.org/borrowers/business/sprout.html or contact Bonnie Smoren at 224-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 1987, the Vermont Community Loan Fund has loaned almost $110 million to local businesses, affordable housing developers and community-based organizations that have created or preserved 6,800 jobs; built or rehabilitated 4,300 affordable homes; created or preserved quality care for over 4,200 children and their families; and supported community organizations providing vital services to hundreds of thousands of Vermonters. investinvermont.org