MCN department helps citizens turn passion into business

MCN department helps citizens turn passion into business
(Shutterstock) The Mvskoke Loan Fund assists Native Americans in creating small businesses.

“Our whole intent is to try to build more small businesses in the rural communities.” –MLF CEO Jerry Wilson

Liz Gray/Mvskoke Media Contributor

Mvskoke Loan fund offers credit counseling

OKMULGEE, Okla. — The Mvskoke Loan Fund is a department within the Muscogee (Creek) Nation created to supply capital to low-income communities. MLF provides development services, credit counseling, business development and business-training workshops.

“Our whole intent is to try to build more small businesses in the rural communities,” Jerry Wilson, MLF CEO said.

MLF offers up to a maximum of $50,000 in business loans.

Wilson explained that the interest rates are lower than those of a regular lender. MLF offers an interest rate of roughly four percent lower than average.

An applicant must have 20 percent of the desired loan, which MLF will recognize in sweat equity. Sweat equity is an interest or increased value in property earned from labor toward upkeep or restoration.

MLF will calculate the difference towards the down payment.

MLF can coach a citizen through the decision-making it takes to run a business. During the application process, MLF provides insight on what type of legal entity an organization may choose, along with accounting help, and has supplied some applicants with the accounting software, QuickBooks.

MLF can help a potential business build a business plan and offers business-training workshops specified for Native American clients.

“Some of the low-income people in rural communities have not had a chance to build a strong credit background,” Wilson said.

Thunder Whitecloud, MLF Chief Operating Officer, explained that citizens can contact their office to start the process of credit counseling.

Once authorization is made, MLF can conduct a soft credit inquiry, which does not affect the credit score. A citizen will be provided with a complete comprehensive credit score from all three bureaus with any accounts that are open.

This information is used as a blueprint to see what agency needs to be contacted to start the process of fixing their scores.

Along with credit counseling, MLF offers a series of 12 business workshops throughout the MCN communities. There will be 24 three-hour workshops focused on budgeting, financial planning, networking and social media with no cost to the citizen or community.

MLF hopes that citizens not only help create small businesses in rural communities, but benefit the communities themselves.

“It also supports the concept of sovereignty,” Wilson said.

MLF also provides opportunity with online businesses. They are associated with SCORE, a group of retired business executives, that provide advise for free.

MLF has several partnership agencies able to help a potential business owner. Services are not limited to individuals, but also MCN chartered communities.

For more information, citizens may contact Thunder Whitecloud at: 918-549-2605.

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