New partnership announced at First Friday Coffee event

Sunday, August 7, 2011
Chris Masingill, federal co-chairman of the Delta Regional Authority, announced Friday the partnership of his organization with microfinance company Accion and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Southeast Missouri State University during the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee at the Show Me Center. (Melissa Miller)

A new partnership to give small businesses access to capital was announced during the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee by the Delta Regional Authority and Southeast Missouri State University.

The university's Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the Delta Regional Authority and Accion Texas Inc. are partnering to develop Accion Delta to provide microloans to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Southeast Missouri and across authority's eight-state region.

Accion is a not-for-profit microfinance company based in San Antonio. Accion Delta will have its first office at Southeast's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

"Small businesses are the backbone of the Delta economy," said DRA federal co-chairman Chris Masingill. "While these loans may be small, they can make a major difference in the success of a small business."

He said about 75 percent of the new jobs created in the Delta Regional Authority footprint are generated by small businesses.

Masingill hopes to eventually have an Accion Delta office in each of the region's eight states.

Janie Barrera, president and CEO of Accion Texas Inc. and Accion Delta, said after entrepreneurs receive training at the center, they will now have improved access to the capital they need to get their businesses off the ground through Accion.

"One of the biggest challenges they face is access to capital," said Stapleton. "Some lack adequate credit scores or collateral for traditional bank loans. Some businesses aren't bankable ideas. Banks seem them as too risky. Some loan amounts too small to interest traditional banks."

Barrera said over the years, her organization has learned how to mitigate risk and boasts a 92 percent loan repayment rate.

The average credit score of Accion's loan recipients is 580, while at a traditional bank the average credit score is 680. The average loan amount is between $12,000 and $14,000. Most loans are under $50,000. Accion has about $28 millions in loans under its management.

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Rep. Jo Ann Emerson also spoke during First Friday Coffee about the need for tax code and regulatory reform in order to create an environment where businesses can grow.

"We need to focus on job creation and innovation and put in effect policies that number one are good for business," the Cape Girardeau Republican said.


Pertinent address:

1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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