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      Northern Initiatives low-interest loan program extended

      For some, finding the means to start a business is one of the most difficult things to do. And that's exactly what the Perkins, a couple who moved to Ontonagon to break into the hospitality industry, faced about two years ago.

      "We spent hours and hours and hours and hours filling out applications for banks and other commercial loan places, then we'd get rejected," said motel owner Kay Perkins.

      Then they heard of the Northern Initiatives Community Advantage Loan Program, an organization that can issue low-interest loans to small businesses. That's what helped the Perkins build the motel of their dreams.

      "What we're able to do with the guarantee is to make loans to small businesses that may not make bank standards, but yet, we think there is a lot of potential in that business," said Northern Initiatives President Dennis West.

      Last week, Northern Initiatives received a two million dollar investment that will allow them to issue more community advantage loans--almost 15 per year. And the Small Business Administration is extending the loan program for another five years.

      The Perkins couple say they were looking for an organization that they could rely on, and one that's dedicated the development of the U.P., and that's exactly what they found in Northern Initiatives.

      "This was like a piece of cake. I mean, this was so easy compared to everything we have been through before. And we know if we need help of any kind, they are more than willing to help us in any type of situation," Perkins said.