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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $1.7 Million in CARES Act Recovery Assistance to Capitalize Revolving Loan Fund to Serve Businesses in Northern Montana

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.7 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Bear Paw Development Corporation of Northern Montana, Havre, Montana, to capitalize and administer a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) that will provide critical gap financing to coronavirus-impacted small businesses in Blaine, Chouteau, Hill, Liberty, and Phillips counties. This EDA grant is expected to create 50 jobs, retain 70 jobs, and generate $3 million in private investment.

“President Biden is committed to supporting small businesses, not only in their recovery from this pandemic, but as they build back stronger,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will provide critical gap financing to aid existing small businesses and support the development of new entrepreneurial businesses in a five-county area in Northern Montana.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting community-led economic development strategies designed to boost coronavirus recovery and response efforts,” said Dennis Alvord, Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This Revolving Loan Fund will provide small businesses in Northern Montana with the financing they need to continue operations and create and retain jobs in the region.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has hit Montana’s economy hard, and as our businesses work hard to turn things around, this funding will be a valuable support,” said Senator Jon Tester. These resources will help Bear Paw Development Corporation continue assisting Havre’s Main Street businesses as they recover, get folks on the Hi-Line back to work, and put Montana’s economy back on the right track.”

“Montana small businesses have faced incredible challenges throughout this pandemic and stepped up to continue providing essential services to our communities,” said Senator Steve Daines. “I am pleased to announce they are receiving needed support with these grants, so they can continue to thrive.”

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by Bear Paw Development Corporation of Northern Montana, which EDA funds to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment, and create jobs.

This project is funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136 PDF), which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance, which is being administered under the authority of the bureau’s flexible Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) (PDF) program, provides a wide-range of financial assistance to eligible communities and regions as they respond to and recover from the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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