Montana & Idaho CDC (Community Development Corporation) and Capital Matrix, both nonprofits devoted to helping entrepreneurs who don’t quite qualify for a bank loan, are funding dozens of Idaho and Montana small businesses with millions of dollars of financing.
The two nonprofits are teaming up to do together what they both already do individually, which is lend critical investment capital to businesses that “almost” qualify for a traditional bank loan. The end-result of these “Good Samaritan Lending” efforts is numerous new small businesses creating thousands of new jobs in local Idaho and Montana communities.
Idaho is seeing strong economic growth in recent years, partly due to a business-friendly state government with low taxes, a low regulatory burden, and a constitutionally required balanced budget. Montana’s economy has also outpaced national economic growth, had perpetually lower unemployment rates, and above-average job growth numbers. The contributions and efforts of groups like Montana & Idaho CDC and Capital Matrix have capitalized on these favorable business environments as well as helped to create them.
Montana & Idaho CDC has more than a thirty year history behind it, but it was only in 2015 the group began operating in Idaho and in 2016 that “& Idaho” was added to their name. At this point, a majority of MICDC’s loan volume is Idaho-based and, by 2016, they had assisted over 50 Idaho businesses with timely, affordable business loans not otherwise obtainable. Dozens more small business loans are being issued by MICDC in 2017, and by 2019, it is expected the nonprofit will have have lent out 10 million dollars in Idaho alone.
MICDC specifically focuses on helping business men and women acquire business property, remodel property they already own, purchase essential equipment, or even buy out an existing business. Additionally, they offer valuable business consulting services and are involved in providing affordable housing to Montana residents. MICDC was among the original certified U.S. Community Development Financial Institutions, and their tax credit and other programs have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Montana and Idaho communities over the last three decades.
Capital Matrix has the same basic vision as MICDC, to “bank almost bankable small businesses” so they can purchase or lease properties, stock up on initial inventory, and do everything else necessary to get off the ground and running. Capital Matrix is based out of Boise, and they allow Montana & Idaho CDC (which has several offices in Montana) to set up their Idaho office in the same building. Thus, the level of cooperation between these two nonprofits is truly remarkable.
Capital Matrix began in 1983 when the municipality of Boise, the local chamber of commerce, and individual Idaho entrepreneurs got together to find a way to promote local small business growth. Today, the nonprofit is privately owned and operated but is also a licensed administrator of the federal SBA 504 loans program.
In 2016, MICDC was awarded 90 million dollars in funds for the New Markets Tax Credit program in recognition of its longstanding commitment to helping local communities grow and prosper. That was the 7th time they received the award, making their all-time grant money for the program reach to over 400 million dollars. The New Markets fund is devoted to helping both start-up and expansion projects for Montana and Idaho businesses. The tax credits are also used to fund community buildings that benefit low-income residents.
Considering how many contenders there are every year for the New Markets Tax Credit program, it is remarkable that MICDC has “won” the application process so often. (Only around half of applicants are approved.) And Montana & Idaho CDC has made every dollar invested in the tax credit fund pay big dividends, creating over 2,000 permanent, good-paying jobs and bettering the lives of tens of thousands in local communities.
Some of the specific businesses and other projects helped by MICDC and Capital Matrix over the years include: Telaya Wine, Richard’s (a restaurant), Zeppole Baking, Valley Natural (jerky manufacturer), Red Lion Inn and Suites, the tribal administrative building for the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Universal Athletic Service HQ, and the Cameron Family Center run by the Great Falls Rescue Mission. The list could go on and on.
Both Montana & Idaho CDC and Capital Matrix have served budding entrepreneurs and local communities in Idaho and Montana for decades with critical financing not otherwise available. The total impact they have had, and continue to have, on the lives of local residents and on state and local economies is difficult to measure, but it is clearly great.