An Indianapolis-based nonprofit is expanding its small business loan program. Renew Indianapolis says the Build Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution that launched in Marion County six years ago, is now available in Hamilton County. Renew Chief Executive Officer Steven Meyer says demand for small business support is the primary factor for the expansion.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Meyer said the flexible types of lending services provided by the Build Fund are in “tremendous demand.”

“[It’s] primarily because the underwriting requirements for banks are pretty strict, especially when it comes to small business lending,” said Meyer. “It requires a significant amount of capital contributed by the borrower or there are specific uses for an SBA-type loan that just don’t fit the mold for every potential business that’s out there.”

As part of the expansion, the Build Fund is partnering with another CDFI, Anderson-based nonprofit Bankable, to provide further support to small businesses. Meyer says Renew and the Build Fund have been working with Bankable for years.

“We’re both non-traditional lenders. We have complementary products, so we often deal with the same kinds of businesses, but our markets don’t really overlap,” he said. “We’ve had a referral relationship for several years and with our expansion, it made sense that we make it easier for businesses to ask for and pursue capital, so having a partnership allows us – Build Fund and Bankable – to work behind the scenes to see who the best potential lender is for that particular project.”

Renew Indianapolis says businesses in Marion and Hamilton counties can use financing from the Build Fund to buy a property, expand at existing locations, or purchase equipment.

Andrea Homoya, CEO of Ash & Elm Cider Co. in Indianapolis, says her business used a Build Fund loan to move into its first permanent home on the near east side of Indianapolis in 2016. She says it was hard to find funding initially because craft cider wasn’t much of an established industry.

“It was kind of hard to find people who were willing to bet on cider as a segment and we were able to meet with Build Fund…and just through conversation and sharing our vision and kind of showing that we had done the work – we had a business plan, we had been working with a business mentor and had a product that was viable – we were able to secure some funding from them for some of our equipment.”

Since that time, Ash & Elm has seen continued growth and is currently building out a new tasting room at the former Ford assembly plant in Indy. Homoya says the company is again using financing from the Build Fund to support the expansion.

Renew Indianapolis says the Build Fund and Bankable both have a special focus on supporting businesses owned minorities, women and veterans. In Marion County, the organization says the Build Fund’s borrowers have created an average of 14 jobs each, or 249 jobs total. The fund has provided a total of 24 loans, adding up to more than $8 million.

You can learn more about the Build Fund by clicking here.

Meyer says the flexible types of lending services provided by the Build Fund are in “tremendous demand.”

Homoya says it was hard to find funding initially.