Local business benefits from Southwest Initiative Foundation microloan program
Sara Messner recently received loan assistance from the Southwest Initiative Foundation’s (SWIF) Microenterprise Loan Program for the start-up of her personalized engraving design business in Hutchinson.
Sara has always had an interest in artistic endeavors, and she began working with Terry Kempfert, who owns Celebration Glass in Hutchinson. Kempfert wished to find someone to train with her specific skills, and assist with her customer base in order to free up time for other facets of her business. The process for Sara required specialized training with Terry, a master artist and mentor. Sara was first taught the copperplate font in calligraphy, then on a special engraving machine, for professional, personalized engraving on glass, crystal and metal. This method is not etching or laser engraving, but actually cuts into the glass, which is then filled with either silver or gold, making it more artistic, professional looking, and desirable. Personalized beer mugs, wine glasses, coffee mugs, mirrors and ornaments are popular items that individuals purchase and then bring to Sara for hand engraving. Personalized gifts for weddings or as party favors are currently very popular, and that trend is expected to continue, as people look for unique gifts. Contact Sara at (320) 583-0031, to inquire about her services.
“We are pleased to be able to assist Sara with the start-up of her engraving business,” said SWIF Program Coordinator, Berny Berger. “The business education SWIF provides through the microloan program will be an asset to her as her business grows.”
The SWIF loan proceeds were used to purchase equipment, and for working capital.
Loan programs have been a key function of SWIF since its inception, as a way to support communities and businesses throughout southwest Minnesota. In 2001, microlending was added to existing programs as a tool to support small businesses and people looking for self-employment opportunities by providing market-rate loans.
Microloan clients receive free technical assistance from SWIF staff—all who have personal business experience—to improve their business management skills, from business planning to reading financials to marketing and other training opportunities for the life of the loan.
This microloan program receives funding assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, contact SWIF at 800-594-9480, 320-587-4848 or firstname.lastname@example.org.