Becoming Bankable: Preparing Mike & Jen’s Cocoa Mix for a small business line of credit

October 31, 2019

Dean Packingham and Amanda Cunningham, owners of Mike and Jen's Hot Cocoa

Local Business Funding Spotlight: Preparing Mike & Jen's Cocoa Mix for a Small Business Line of Credit

Entrepreneurs are tenacious. They’re problem solvers, and when they have an idea for a business, they cannot and will not rest until they’ve seen it through. While seasoned entrepreneurs with several successful ventures on their hands may be able to access a small business line of credit from a traditional banking partner from the start, first-time business owners often must navigate a more challenging road to accessing financing.

Startups are essential to a thriving economy, but from a financing perspective, they’re risky. With a reliable revenue stream in place, many startups do not make enough to cover the monthly debt service associated with a loan or small business line of credit from a traditional bank. It’s a bit of a catch-22 – especially in the food/food processing industry with a non-traditional sales cycle. Entrepreneurs can’t access capital until they can show revenue, but they need to purchase and prepare inventory in advance and won’t see revenue until weeks or months later.

Becoming Bankable – from Microloans to Small Business Line of Credit

Driven small business owners don’t stay discouraged for long. If they can’t access bank financing right away, they find another source. The Entrepreneur Fund often serves as a bridge between startups and banking partners, offering smaller and more flexible loan options that allow business owners to build successful companies from the ground up.

With financing from the Entrepreneur Fund, business owners gain the flexibility they need to set their business cycle in motion before accessing significant business funding from bank partners. From there, the Entrepreneur Fund’s work complements bank loans to fuel business growth in the region.

Our financing solutions include:

  • SBA 7A Financing up to $750,000, which can have a huge impact on our region’s businesses – especially when paired with a traditional bank loan.
  • Small Business Financing up to $250,000 and can include gap financing, which is perfect for growing a regional small business.
  • SBA Microloans up to $50,000, which are perfect for startups. We’ll help get you off the ground and ready to grow.

Sharing Duluth’s Sweeter Side

Mike & Jen’s Cocoa Mix has a sweet beginning and an even sweeter success story. What began as an experiment to create a natural, full-flavored, ready-to-mix cocoa for his daughter became the tipping point in Dean Packingham’s career.

After testing hundreds of cocoa powders, dozens of milk powders and several options for both cane sugar and sea salt, Dean landed on a recipe his kids, Mike and Jen, absolutely adored. But, it didn’t stop there. Family told friends who told their networks, too. Suddenly, Mike & Jen’s Cocoa Mix was sold in local stores and shops, and it was everything Dean could do to meet the ever-growing demand.

With help from fellow entrepreneurs and the Entrepreneur Fund, Dean was able to scale his business and increase production over ten-fold.

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