For almost everyone, 2020 is a year to forget. But new numbers show that in the 52 year history of the Lewis & Clark Development Group, 2020 will likely go down as the organization’s most important year.

The numbers set to be released in the organization’s Fiscal Year 2020 annual report finds LCD Group’s total small business lending amount tripled from 2019. Also, the number of small businesses receiving financing almost doubled from the previous year. 

“Every annual report highlights our impact. Our annual report for fiscal year 2020 puts an exclamation point on the impact we had on North Dakota,” says Brent Ekstrom, LCD Group executive director.

A comparison of the numbers between 2019 and 2020 tells the tale.

In 2019, LCD Group lent $2.9 million to 26 small businesses. During 2020, the organization provided $8.7 million in financing to 42 North Dakota small businesses located in Baldwin, Belfield, Bismarck, Burlington, Dickinson, Fargo, Jamestown, Linton, Mandan, Mandaree, Turtle Lake, Watford City, Williston, and Wishek. 

Ekstrom says the 2020 numbers show LCD Group’s lending programs resulted in the creation of 328.5 jobs. This number is on top of the jobs saved through COVID-19 related assistance programs offered through the organization. 

Lewis & Clark Regional Development Council (RDC) and the Lewis & Clark Certified Development Company (CDC) are part of the Lewis & Clark Development Group. Together, they provide a range of commercial loan programs ranging from  the SBA 504 Loan program and the North Dakota Opportunity Fund to targeted regional and revolving loan funds.

Lewis & Clark RDC is the federally designated Economic Development District (EDD) for Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, and Sioux Counties; the RDC was tasked early in the pandemic with coordinating a regional economic response. 

“We’ve never had a year like 2020 and we hope to not have one again in any of our lifetimes, but our annual report shows how fortunate North Dakota is to have Lewis and Clark Development Group’s programs, services, and expertise,” adds Ekstrom. “I don’t mean to sound immodest but the numbers and the small businesses we’ve helped back this up.” 

The full report will be sent to regional and state officials later in August. 

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