The Economic Development & Financing Corporation (EDFC) was formed through a unique partnership between Mendocino County’s four incorporated cities and the county to coordinate and support economic development activity in Mendocino County in 1995. EDFC obtained official certification as a Community Development Financing Institution (CDFI) in September 2013 and expanded its business into Lake County in 2014. Funding is provided through local, state and federal government sources and as of May, 2019, EDFC had disbursed 102 loans totaling $6,275,541, with more than 300 jobs created. We’re proud to have EDFC as a Startup Mendocino Sponsor and we talked to Heather Gurewitz, the executive director, about her thoughts on entrepreneurship in Mendocino County.

What part does your organization play in the economic development of Mendocino County?

In addition to coordinating economic development in Mendocino and Lake Counties, EDFC also provides an alternative financing/business loan program. We offer loans ranging from under $5,000 up to $250,000 to businesses that are not able to access conventional bank financing. We use standards developed by mission-based non-profit lenders across the country designed to make sure that the loan is in the best interest of the entrepreneur. We also work on improving digital infrastructure in the County and Broadband initiatives.

What good things do you see happening in the next decade in Mendocino County?

I see a lot of innovation among local entrepreneurs, and growing new industries that support the sustainable goals of the county.  

What’s your favorite place or places to go in Mendocino County?

I’m partial to the coast, but I feel lucky to have a job that takes me to all areas of the county. I love visiting the South Fork of the Eel on a hot summer day, hiking for mushrooms in the late fall and winter, and there is nowhere more magical than a sea cave on a calm summer day.  I love eating (and drinking) at the Purple Rose in Cleone, which is my local neighborhood spot and for special occasions, Trattoria Luna in Mendocino. When I’m inland, where else but Ocotime! I could go on and on, there are so many great spots.

Tickets for the Startup Mendocino Competition Gala Are Now on Sale

This family-friendly event takes place in Ukiah at the Mendocino College theater on August 25th. Tickets are $10 and include beer, wine, refreshments, local food and prizes — and most importantly, a chance to cast your vote to determine who will win the grand prize for Startup Mendocino. Click here to buy tickets now.

Startup Mendocino is a Business Bootcamp and Pitch Competition designed to spark new thinking about what is possible in Mendocino County through entrepreneurship. Startup Mendocino is sponsored by the West Business Development Center, America’s SBDC, The John and Sandra Mayfield Economic Development Fund at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Adventist Hospital, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, Economic Development and Financing Corporation, Mendocino College, North Coast Brewery, Harvest Market, The John Pack and Linda Francis Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, Ukiah Chambers of Commerce, Mendocino Coast Chambers of Commerce and Willits Chambers of Commerce and The Coast – KOZT, and the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity.

Startup Mendocino is supported by the Small Business Administration and California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Business & Economic Development.

As always, to sign up for free business advising from WestBDC go here

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