"The Storm Lake SCORE chapter is one of the best in the district," members were told at the August meeting by Deputy District Director John Langin.
"Your members show a great deal of interest, they stay involved and you have excellent attendance," the visitor from the Des Moines office of the Small Business Administration continued. "You stay involved and follow up with your clients." The August meeting saw a majority of the chapters' 21 members an attending.
Langin explained that the SBA tries to have a major role in economic development in Iowa by making guaranteed loans to small business through local banks. He announced a new program of "Express Loans" up to $250,000 with a 50% guarantee which banks can make in as little as one day without waiting for SBA approval. He expects banks to be very receptive of this new program.
"SBA returns the most bang for the buck in government programs for it returns money to the U.S. treasury," Langin continued. As many as 92% of the loans are current he said when asked about the default rate. "We're here to create jobs but it becomes difficult in Iowa's small towns." He noted a major problem is the closing of food stores in Iowa towns. (Alta and Aurelia grocery stores have closed recently members noted.)
Jeff Kestel, a SCORE member, is with the USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Service Spencer office. He explained the role of lowa Lakes Conservation and Development group working in economic development and technical counseling. They have counseled farmers interested in grape production and a person developing a drill for use in planting native grasses.
The group is also interested in computer recycling in order to keep them out of landfills. Computer monitors are almost 100% recyclable. He noted that computers contain some valuable metals in the contents with several polluting components.
The SBA report for the quarter shows the Storm Lake SCORE members handled 16 new cases, made 20 follow-up contacts with 53 counseling hours. The Des Moines district had 740 new cases so far this year.
Members reported first time counseling sessions with seven new clients.
Chapter #617 members counsel with businesses or prospective business people in the four-county area of Buena Vista, Cherokee, Pocahontas and Sac.