Business start-ups challenged by the need for funding should not overlook the Memphis Area Association of Governments – MAAG.
According to its website, MAAG was created to facilitate and support activities that stimulate economic and community development in the community.
Revolving Loan Fund
MAAG – in addition to serving in a supporting role for governments and non-profits – also provides loans through its Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). A tool specifically targeting small and medium-sized businesses, the RLF is used to "promote expansion and job retention" by offering gap financing.
RLF loans are typically based on the "borrower's needs, repayment ability, collateral financed and confirmation of jobs created." The interest rates are determined by the applicant's credit profile and may be as low as two percentage points below the prime rate.
With the capability to provide gap financing between $25,000 and $150,000, MAAG works in conjunction with a partnering institution. The partnering institution's existing loan application process is used to evaluate the loan and the RLF will apply against the partnering institution's loan limit.
In an era when startup funds are rare, the RLF can be used for business start up. In addition, the funds can be used for expansion, conversion and/or working capital. The terms are traditionally 15 years on real estate and 7 years on equipment.
Emergency Relief Program
MAAG also provides oversight for the government-funded Emergency Relief Program (ERP) for senior citizens in need of repairs to their homes.
The ERP is a matching grant provided to low-income seniors who own their homes and are in need of work on an essential system and/or critical structural problem. Matching means that there must be some other funds involved as well.
The applicant must be at least 60 years of age, the property must be owner occupied and the applicant must have an ownership interest in the property. The household income must be at or below 60 percent of area median income. The maximum amount of the grant is $10,000.
The ERP is designed to provide assistance so that the homeowner can remain in the property. The funds can be used to provide repairs to the roofs, electrical systems, plumbing systems, septic systems, heating and air systems, and/or structural repairs to floors and walls.
AT A GLANCE
What: The Memphis Area Association of Governments
Reach: Supports Memphis and Shelby County, in addition to Fayette, Lauderdale, Tipton, Desoto and Crittenden counties as it relates to federal and state initiatives connected to the economy, housing and community development.
Executive director: Pamela Marshall, chief of staff for former Interim Shelby County Mayor Joseph Ford, vice president of Public Policy and Affairs at the Greater Chamber of Commerce, and the Community Relations officer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Board: The MAAG board includes representatives from area chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus and others focused on creatively working to market the region to visitors.
Role: As part of its support to local governments and non-profits, "MAAG prepares and submits grant applications for strategic projects, secures funding for implementation and provides administrative services through the process."
In addition to offering the Revolving Loan Fund and the Emergency Relief Program, MAAG has been designated the Regional Tourism Organization.
(For more information, visit www.MAAGOV.org or call 901-729-2871.)