Q&A with Tobi LeMahieu, Regional Business Fund Inc.

Q&A with Tobi LeMahieu, Regional Business Fund Inc.

2018-09-04T13:50:09-05:00September 4, 2018|Funding Source Q&A, Launch|

The Regional Business Fund Inc. (RBF) is a nonprofit economic development corporation whose purpose is to promote business and economic development in west central Wisconsin. RBF offers low-interest loan funds to businesses that expand within the region, diversify the economy, add new technology, revitalize buildings in the region’s downtowns and create quality jobs and capital investment in the region.

Q: Tell us more about RBF.

A: RBF is a non-profit 501(c)(6) economic development corporation whose purpose is to promote business and economic development in west central Wisconsin, which is defined as the counties of Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Polk and St. Croix. RBF offers low-interest loan funds to businesses that expand within the region, diversify the economy, add new technology, revitalize buildings in the region’s downtowns, create or retain quality jobs, and/or leverage private capital investment in the region. Eligible loan activities include acquisition of equipment, machinery, furniture and fixtures; new working capital; site improvements; land and building acquisition; new building construction; or building renovation.

Last year, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Business Communication class led by Emily Elsner Twesme created a video for RBF that provides information about our programs. 

Q: What programs and services does RBF offer?

A: RBF offers six low-interest loan programs to businesses:

  • Revolving Loan Fund: loans to assist as gap financing
  • Micro Loan Fund: loans for startups and newly established businesses unable to obtain traditional financing
  • Growth Loan Fund: loans for established businesses unable to obtain traditional financing
  • Downtown Façade Loan Fund: Zero-interest loans for property owners or businesses in rural downtowns to incentivize revitalization
  • Technology Enterprise Fund: loans to new and emerging technology companies
  • Economic Development Administration Revolving Loan Fund: loans to assist with working capital or fixed asset gap financing

Q: Who can apply for these programs?

A: Any business that provides an economic benefit to the region can apply.

Q: How does RBF benefit the overall business climate of the state?

A: RBF provides a crucial gap financing tool for business in west central Wisconsin. In 2017 alone, RBF provided over $4.1 million in loans to 73 businesses including 24 startups in the region. Oftentimes, without RBF financing, the businesses would not have been able to move forward with their respective projects.

Q: What is the best way to learn more or apply for RBF?

A: Please visit our website at www.rbfinc.org or call us at 715.836.2918.

To set up a presentation about RBF or if interested in a loan in Chippewa, Clark, or Eau Claire counties, email Tobi LeMahieu at tlemahieu@wcwrpc.org.

If interested in a loan in Barron, Dunn, Polk, or St. Croix counties, email Jordan Pospishil at jpospishil@wcwrpc.org.