In many ways, business is about providing solutions. Simply having a product or idea won't make a company successful. The product must provide a solution. Furthermore, the solution has to be desirable and actually add value to the client it's meant to serve.
Economic development is about solutions also. We help companies grow, expand, and access the resources they need for their business to be successful in our region. Our product is evaluating, identifying, and accessing what our clients need for successful operation in central Illinois. Sometimes we do this through site selection assistance. Sometimes it's by connecting businesses to the resources that can help fill their needs. Often, it's through financing.
EDC has helped many clients acquire financing through the years. Traditionally, the bulk of our work has been through the various county Revolving Loan Fund programs or state loan programs. EDC has also provided assistance through the Heartland Community Development Corporation (Heartland CDC).
In today's markets, however, our region has a need for a wider variety of financing. There's no single financing solution that will work for companies across the board. The EDC and The Heartland Partnership are taking a great step towards filling these diverse needs with the newly created Heartland Capital Network.
The Heartland Capital Network is a collection of programs geared to meet the financing needs of business ventures in the Illinois heartland.
Tri County Venture Capital Fund is one collective venture capital fund that may invest as a unit in various local ventures. Investors that meet certain fund criteria may join the fund and benefit from the opportunity to invest money in local ventures. Local businesses profit from the opportunity to acquire venture financing locally.
Heartland Angel Network represents an additional investment opportunity for the region. Angel investment involves companies or individuals directly placing cash into a company in exchange for stock or ownership in the company. The Angel Network is an inventory of the various individuals or companies throughout the area that are interested in investment opportunities of various types.
Heartland Venture Capital Network represents opportunities for investment partners outside the immediate tri-county area. Different VC funds are customized for different types of businesses. To suit the varying needs of our local businesses, EDC is developing and maintaining a network of Midwest VC firms that we've identified as potential investors in local projects. The Heartland Partnership may offer VC firms an opportunity to review a potential investment opportunity.
Heartland Finance Network represents many of the tried and true finance resources the EDC has been utilizing to help companies for years. Venture capital and Angel investment only represent one end of the financing spectrum. Traditional bank financing is another part. This network of contacts serves as potential partners for local businesses that need more traditional financing solutions.
Heartland Finance Programs consist of grant and loan resources including local, state, and federal financing options in addition to Small Business Administration, Illinois Finance Authority, and other federal funding opportunities.
Heartland Community Development Corporation works to strengthen central Illinois communities by supporting sustainable enterprises and serving as an investor in various projects throughout the region. The Heartland CDC is a consortium of local banks and business that have invested in the CDC. The CDC is then able to invest in various projects including community development, start-up business financing, or expansion/ relocation projects. Previous projects have included O'Brien Stadium, the Ashley HomeStore, and the Coyote Creek development projects.
The purpose of the Heartland Capital Network is to encourage business growth-whether the client is one of the region's many new small technology companies or one of our long-time top employers. We help companies find solutions to their needs. Different companies need different types of financing, and with the Heartland Capital Network, the EDC and The Heartland Partnership are better equipped to match the needs of a growing business community with financing solutions that make sense. IBI