A business plan has been completed, management named and it appears Utah is well on its way toward forming a Small Business Investment Corp., called Intermountain Funding.
Kirk A. Benson, IF president, said the business plan will be presented Tuesday to Utahns for Capital Formation, an ad hoc group put together by Salt Lake businessman Peter S. Cooke, with the express purpose of forming an SBIC.Fourteen months ago, the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce formed a group to examine the feasibility of organizing an SBIC to provide "gap financing" to growing second- and third-stage companies unable to get financing from traditional sources.
The group studied the issues for several months under the leadership of Cooke and R. Kent Moon, former Utah director for the Small Business Administration. SBA licenses SBICs.
To get money to get the SBIC started, the group asked the Utah Economic Development Board for $160,000 from its Special Opportunities Fund, but that group refused to give any money until a business plan had been written and the SBIC management named.
That's when Cooke organized Utahns for Capital Formation, a group that presumably will cease to exist once the SBIC is operating.
Benson, who is an attorney and certified public accountant, worked on the business plan for no money and that replaced the need for the $160,000 from the state. Others, including Cooke, assisted him.
Because Intermountain Funding now has a business plan and management team, Benson was asked if he would return to the state for money. "No," he said.
Benson and others are contacting large utilities and local governments to see if they want to provide some money to get the SBIC operating and the SBA will be asked to provide some guaranteed money.
The minimum operating funding is $1 million and Benson said Intermountain Funding probably will operate in the $15 million range.
Generally, banks stay away from loans to second- and third-stage companies needing money to expand because of the higher risk even though the returns may be higher. IF's intent it to provide financing in a niche between commercial lenders and the traditional role of venture capitalists, Benson said.
The business plan says the market area for IF is Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and parts of Colorado and Nevada. There are no SBICs in Utah and Idaho and only a small SBIC in Casper, Wyo.
Although the IF will be located in Utah, there is a possibility of opening an office in Boise, Idaho, if it becomes cost effective, Benson said.
Benson has been involved in leveraged buyout transactions and venture capital investments. He has assisted in structuring the acquisition and disposition of numerous businesses and has been a principal in the tax departments of several certified public accounting firms and worked for two law firms.
Elliot R. Travis, a vice president, received a bachelor's degree from Williams College and master's degree in business administration from Stanford University. He has been a consultant for a wide variety of industries and was a senior associate in the international management consulting firm, Resource Planning Associates.
Another vice president, Craig Hickman, has been a consultant for several Fortune 500 companies and their divisions and is an adjunct professor at BYU's School of Management. Hickman received his bachelors's degree in economics from BYU and his master's degree from Harvard University.
An 18-member advisory committee has been formed to refer meritorious businesses to IF and provide advice on funding needs and local concerns.