The sky is the limit for South Waikato businesses looking for a loan from South Waikato Investment Fund Trust (SWIFT), which has reset its minimum business loans to $50,000.
SWIFT has also reset its grants, which are available to not-for-profit organisations that either deliver educational and training opportunities to enable people to enter the workforce or support community infrastructure that encourages business investment to improve the quality of life in the district.
SWIFT has increased its minimum grants to $25,000 and will consider approaches for multi-year funding support. Applications for community grants will be open from 1 August and close on 15 September.
“Large scale impact is the focus,” says SWIFT CEO Amanda Hema, who took over the role in late 2021. “This is all about incentivising growth.” Ms Hema says SWIFT has published its new grant and loan criteria on its website to give clarity and transparency to applicants.
The reset is part of SWIFT’s new five-year strategic plan which, over the next three years, will focus on:
- Managing and leveraging SWIFT’s current portfolio of investments to deliver the best outcomes for South Waikato
- Supporting South Waikato’s existing industries and established businesses to succeed and grow
- Working with South Waikato’s key industries to ensure they can access the workforce and skills they need to succeed
SWIFT makes loans as a registered financial services provider. “Our five-year discounted loans can be transformational to a business,” says Ms Hema. “Our interest rates are usually less than market rates and we are very community focused. Businesses must be located or in the process of relocating or expanding in South Waikato to receive a loan.
“With all new loans our Community Liaison Co-ordinator will introduce the business to our training and employment partners and makes regular check-ins. When the loan finishes, we don’t step out of the picture, we can scaffold them into another loan arrangement to support further growth plans.”