Dealflow | September 9, 2020

RSF Social Finance backs loans for Native-owned agriculture businesses

Jessica Pothering
ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, September 9 – Akiptan, a community development financial institution in South Dakota, launched last year to support Native-owned agriculture businesses that are shut out of most traditional commercial lending. The Native-owned CDFI, has originated nearly $3 million in loans in 13 tribal nations.

RSF Social Finance is providing Akiptan with a seven-year, $250,000 loan to on-lend to Native businesses.

Akiptan’s borrowers include businesses like Sakari Farms, which is trying to revitalize native foods and plants; Akiptan’s loan helped Sakari purchase a greenhouse.

Akiptan and other CDFIs provide a small but growing pool of capital for Native-owned businesses of all types. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s credit program serves U.S.-based farmers, including Native-owned farms. But many Native farms and agribusinesses are too small for traditional lenders, or struggle to access financing because there are too few financial services firms operating on Native lands or other business hurdles (see, Overcoming obstacles to Navajo entrepreneurship). 

In July, Candide Group helped Native American Natural Foods raise its first institutional funding round after 15 years in business (see, A Native food company’s commitment to social mission attracts investors at last).