Clovis News

In brief: $81,000 grant will help Southeast Asian farmers

An $81,000 federal grant will help a group of Southeast Asian farmers explore the potential for launching a marketing cooperative to sell their specialty crops.

The money will be used to complete a feasibility study and business plan for selling Asian vegetables nationwide.

The Lao American Foundation in Fresno will organize the effort, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development department.

"We have wholesalers and buyers who would like to buy, but we need many farmers to come together so we can sell in larger quantities," said Sam Bilatout, board member of the Lao American Foundation.

The California Center for Cooperative Development will help with the feasibility study. A portion of the funding will help educate growers about the benefits of farming cooperatives.

Loans to assist small, rural Valley businesses

A federal program has awarded a Fresno organization $605,000 to provide loans to micro and small business in the rural areas of the San Joaquin Valley.

Loans of up to $50,000 will be available to qualifying businesses that have fewer than 10 employees and are in an unincorporated area or a city with a population less than 50,000.

The Fresno Community Development Financial Institution, a subsidiary of the Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission, received the funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program.

Building industry groups start website

Ten organizations associated with the building industry in the Valley have joined to create, a one-stop website for information related to building and related trades.

The website allows each organization to post detailed information about events, workshops and classes for its industry segment.

Clovis mock investment event winner revealed

Soil & Topography Information LLC, a member of the Central Valley Business Incubator, was the overall winner of the Central Valley Stock Exchange, a mock investment event held last week in Clovis.

STI was among 15 companies that made pitches to attendees, each of whom had a fictional $1 million to "invest" in the competing companies. STI was also the winner in the water-technology industrial group at the event Thursday.

SunTherm Energy Inc. was the top investment recipient in the energy industrial group, while myNetworkFactory was the winner among technology businesses.