Rural small businesses eager to seek financing through expanded community lender resources

Edwards, Miss. (WLBT) – Some business owners in rural communities are struggling and often cannot find financing from traditional banking institutions.

The Biden administration is working to improve lending opportunities for small businesses and minorities in underserved areas. A Hinds County restaurant owner hopes these new resources will allow him and others to finally live the American dream.

“We need help and we are making a difference,” said Renita Myles-Lee.

She and her husband Harold own Lee’s Heavenly Barbeque in Edwards. The small business on Main Street serves fresh home cooking. Myles-Lee said small businesses in rural communities are often overlooked by banks when they need a loan to make improvements.

“They expect you to have between $10,000 and $20,000 in the bank. If I had this in the bank, I wouldn’t need any support,” the restaurant owner said. “We generate a good resource in it, but all of our resources are used up after paying for staff, lighting and the cost of living, we all know, has increased significantly.”

Myles-Lee needs a $10,000 loan for a commercial kitchen. She now has a better chance of getting funding.

Vice President Kamala Harris just visited Greenville, promoting the $8.7 billion investment in community lenders that support small businesses in rural communities.

“They know and understand and they help ensure that residents have the opportunities they need to stay in the places they love, and these businesses not only create prosperity, they also build community,” said said Harris.

Over the past seven years, Lee has donated over 2,000 bags of books to students and provided over 550 bags of food to those in need during the pandemic. The company also buys its fresh vegetables from a local farmer.

“With this kind of support, it will allow us to hire more people and just have more resources to give back to the community,” Myles-Lee added.

“We’re elevating our small businesses and all of America’s advantages,” the vice president said.

To learn more about applying for a loan, go to www.sba.gov.

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