We believe gender gap funding is a key ingredient to growing a strong and inclusive economy that is built to last.  Here’s our latest blog about how some local women-owned entrepreneurs are making it work, with a little help from the Economic Development Loan Fund.

Entrepreneur’s dreams often start with the realization of a basic need not being fulfilled. This was the case for Sofia Opmanis, founder of Moss and Fawn, who saw a need for a more sustainable baby product that would soothe sore and painful gums from teething. For Jessica Thesing of Mean Mugs Pottery Co, it was about enhancing another business’s brand through modern, meaningful mugs that are hand-crafted in Salt Lake City.

Getting these products to market has not been so easy. Female entrepreneurs still face more challenges than men do when applying for small business funding. Did you know that women own 39% of small businesses in Utah but only receive 4.4% of small business loans?

Thanks to a little help from Salt Lake City’s Economic Development Fund (EDLF), these women-owned entrepreneurs and others are making a name for themselves. New research shows a large number of underrepresented business owners are getting significant support from Salt Lake City’s Economic Development Fund (EDLF).  In fact, 44 percent of the loans from 2015-2018 were given to businesses with a female owner.  Altogether, the EDLF has loaned more than $5.8 million to 50 businesses during the past three years.

A Better Baby Feeder

Sofia Opmanis is the Founder of Moss and FawnSofia Opmanis is the Founder of Moss and Fawn, Moss and Fawn’s forage feeder is an innovative baby food feeder and teether. Finance was a challenge for Moss and Fawn since this was a first-time business. Having no pre-existing long term banking relationships, Moss and Fawn faced many challenges to get the proper funding. Once Moss and Fawn was able to secure a loan the funds were used to purchase inventory. Sofia created the brand to not only solve a problem she saw in other food feeders, but to also create a high-end brand with on-trend designs. Sofia incorporates her passion for travel and the outdoors in her branding and feel of her product by picking earth tones that are also gender neutral. She hopes to grow the brand and introduce new products soon!

Modern, Meaningful Mugs Hand-Crafted in Utah

Mean Mugs Pottery Co. is a women-owned business in Salt Lake City
Photo cred: @DirtinYourSkirt

From Mean Mugs Pottery Co., “The Salt Lake City EDLF program was critical in helping us start our business in 2016 and has now helped us again to grow.  Shelby Cox is amazing to work with and her support has helped our Mean Mugs Pottery Co. team fulfill our mission to create quality handmade stoneware and bring it to market right here in Salt Lake City.  We’re a women-owned business and are collectively committed to sustainable manufacturing and purchasing practices.  It’s our belief that thoughtful purchases of quality goods from people in our community bring the greatest return on investment.  This philosophy drives our operations and creative process!”

At Your Service

Since launching in the 1990’s, the Salt Lake City Economic Development Loan Fund (EDLF) has helped more than 150 entrepreneurs’ dreams and wishes become reality. The EDLF was established to stimulate business development and expansion, create employment opportunities, encourage private investment, promote economic development, and enhance neighborhood vitality and commercial enterprise in the City by making loans available to businesses.

“The City’s EDLF program helps business owners accomplish their dreams by providing financing that they might not be able to find anywhere else,” says Shelby Cox, who manages the City’s small business loans.

EDLF loans money to startup and existing businesses for a variety of purposes such as:

  • Energy efficient equipment upgrades
  • Construction and tenant improvements
  • Signage and retail presentation
  • Furnishings and equipment
  • Working capital

Cox explains that the program offers three types of loans. “Startup businesses (0-3 years old) can apply for loans up to $100,000. Existing businesses (3+ years old) can apply for loans up to $350,000. Microloans are also available for up to $25,000.”

Loan details include:

  • Terms last up to seven years
  • No minimum credit score
  • 10% minimum collateral
  • $100 application fee
  • 1.5% of loan amount at closing

Interest rates vary with an average rate of 8%. Interest rate reduction incentives are given to businesses that support City goals such as geographic priority areas, low to moderate income owners, veteran and disabled owners, and E2 green businesses.

For more information about Salt Lake City’s Economic Development Fund (EDLF), contact Shelby Cox at 801-535-7258.