Insight on Business

April 2013

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UPFRONT face time P H OTO G R A P H B Y B i l l K ap i n s k i / I M A G E S T U D I O S , F O R I N SI G H T Ron Van Straten For nearly 30 years, Ron Van Straten, a grant specialist with GRAEF in Green Bay, has worked with businesses to find ways to finance their dreams by tapping into state and federal grant programs as well as commercial lenders. He sat down to talk with Insight contributor MaryBeth Matzek to discuss how using grant programs is now more important than ever for businesses. w w w. i n s i g h t o n b u s i n e s s . c o m on making dreams a reality A lot of people have great ideas for businesses, but it all comes down to funding. If you can���t secure it, your idea is going nowhere. For more than 28 years, I have helped businesses find financing for projects just getting off the ground or helping existing businesses expand. It���s all about coordination ��� working with commercial lenders and then the state and federal programs, plus any local dollars available ��� and coming up with the best package possible for a business. One of the projects I enjoyed most was working with the employees of TEAM Industries in Kaukauna. Their owner went bankrupt, but the employees thought that if they could buy the business, they could turn it around. They had the knowledge and the expertise. I was able to work with them and pulled together some other players, like the City of Kaukauna and some grants through the Small Business Administration, along with a commercial lender. The gamble paid off and they are now a very successful company. But when it comes to business financing, the whole world changed in 2008 when the bottom fell out of the financial industry. Lending dried up and the whole banking industry changed. That shift made [continued] �� A p r i l 2 013 ��� Insight | 15

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