Our Business Development Program targets all qualified individuals within our service area in Northwest Wisconsin.
Although the primary focus of the program is to help low income entrepreneurs start new business, we also provide business development services to entrepreneurs to preserve or increase jobs at existing qualifying businesses.
Clients of the program receive technical assistance in all areas of business, including but not limited to:
Loan packaging and ongoing case management is available. Assistance is offered in a classroom setting or on a one-on-one basis. Through the program, individuals may be able to take advantage of a Micro Loan Fund as well as financing through traditional lenders.
Services are available in Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Clark, Douglas, Iron, Polk, Price, Rusk, Sawyer, Taylor, and Washburn Counties.
Sue Johnston, a single parent who had worked nearly 20 years for a community newspaper in Hayward, was referred to Indianhead CAA by one of the agency's directors for help with an opportunity to acquire her own community newspaper in the village of Winter. A weekly tabloid in continuous print since 1908, the Sawyer County Gazette was owned and operated by a retired couple who were seeking to leave the business. Seeing a chance to own a business and use her experience to breathe new life into the struggling newspaper, Mrs. Johnson requested financing to replace the antiquated fixtures with state of the art digital equipment, improve the efficiency, make the paper more attractive to readers and advertisers, and boost sales and circulation. Using a well organized and detailed business plan, Ms. Johnston successfully negotiated a mortgage loan for the newspaper building with the local bank, a business loan from ICAA, and financing from a private investor. Ms. Johnston took ownership of the paper on April 27th, 2011, allowing her the opportunity to become financially independent. She also was able to hire two new employees and projected adding two more staff within the year.
Owners of 32 alpacas kept on a five acre property outside of Hayward, Matthew & Linsey Carey are a young couple who became interested in wool processing after learning of the demand from other small animal herd owners. From their research they found there was enough of a market for animal fiber processing to enable them to create a worthwhile business enterprise. In addition to acquisition of the specialized and expensive equipment necessary for processing, they also needed to renovate a garage to create a workshop for the processing.
Their credit, however, had been ruined due to some major financial setbacks in 2006 and 2007. During 2006 the Careys were in the process of adopting a child from Kyrgyzstan and had travelled there to complete the adoption. While they were away, a person or persons unknown stole their identity, drained their financial accounts, and took out loans in the Careys' names, wiping out their financial resources and saddling them with large debts not of their making. In 2008 the Careys were forced to declare bankruptcy to resolve their financial problems.
Unable to obtain financing for the wool processing project because of their financial history, the Careys were referred to Indianhead's Business Development Program in April 2013 by another client, Sue Johnston of the Sawyer County Gazette. The Careys presented Indianhead with a well written business plan with documentation to confirm their numbers and projections. Visits to the Careys revealed a well-kept animal facility which indicated pride of ownership and a well maintained alpaca herd. It was also learned that the Careys were ordering equipment which could handle not only sheep wool but also 100% alpaca wool, giving them additional fiber processing abilities. Because not all wool processors can handle 100% alpaca wool, which is a finer fiber than sheep wool, being able to do so will give the Careys a competitive advantage over other processors. Over the summer of 2013 Matthew performed extensive remodeling of a garage to convert it into a wool processing facility. Based on their solid business plan, their animal husbandry background, professionally maintained facility, and a demonstrated high level of responsibility, the Careys were approved for an equipment loan to acquire the specialized machinery needed to process animal fibers.
Indianhead Community Action Agency
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