Durango business loan

The Durango Creative District has partnered with 1st SouthWest Community Fund in implementing the first revolving Creative Loan Fund for Durango, CO. This loan is intended to help small businesses, nonprofits and individuals with working capital and business continuity.

This loan fund is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development Grant Program and by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.



Colorado Creative Industries


Mancos Creative District
Monica Louise

"Fish Sandwich" mural featured at 2nd Avenue Deli
Mural and photo by Monica Louise


To receive the full PDF application, please email Sherry Waner at allspe[email protected] with subject line "Creative Arts Loan Fund"


Q: Is this a grant or a loan that needs to be repaid?

A: This is a loan that needs to be repaid. For this loan fund, the applicant has no payment for initial 90 days. Repayment terms are determined upon application.

Q: What is the interest rate? How does this compare to traditional loan rates?

A: The interest rate is a fixed 2.5%. Traditional loan rates vary across lenders and are between 6% - 13% on average, according to a 2019 national SBA study.

1st Southwest Community Fund has also launched the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Fund for small businesses and nonprofits that are facing challenges during the COVID-19 crisis. This loan rate is also a fixed 2.5%.

Q: What can the loan be used for? What can't it be used for?

A: This loan can be used for working capital and business continuity. This includes rent, paying employee wages, equipment purchases, advertising and marketing, and more. The loan cannot be used to purchase property.

Q: What criteria is the Creative Arts Loan Fund advisory committee looking for business owners to fulfill?

A: In addition to reviewing your financials, the Creative Arts Loan Fund advisory committee is looking to see that your business/organization benefits our local economy and that the loan goes to support creative services or products that are made/produced here locally, whether by hand or in the mind.

Creative industries include Visual Arts, Design, Agriculture, Literary and Publishing, Film and Media, Venue spaces, Education, Creative Recreation, Craft Food and Beverage, Performing Arts, Culture and Heritage, Public Art and Artisan Products.

Q: What is the advantage of going through the Creative Arts Loan Fund vs. applying for a traditional loan?

A: The Creative Arts Loan Fund advisory committee has purposefully made the application process easier than traditional loan applications, and you will find that our criteria is different than most traditional loans. The committee wants to help business owners meet their needs with minimal obstacles.

For small businesses/nonprofits facing hardships in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the Durango Creative District recommends applying for this loan for relief AND/OR the 1st Southwest COVID-19 Emergency Loan Fund. Both loan funds have a fixed 2.5% interest rate and easy application processes.

Q: What is the minimum and maximum funds I can request?

A: You can request a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $10,000. Loan requests over $10,000 may be given special consideration by advisory committee.


Create Art and Tea


"The Durango Creative District and First Southwest Community Fund have helped Create Art and Tea in a tremendous way. This money will help Create continue to showcase 75+ local artist, 35+ different teas (including homemade blends) and provide educational workshops featuring local creative presenters."

Caprice Fox, owner

Bailey Barnes


"I am an educator that helps disempowered artists align their lives with their creative gifts so they can make their highest contribution. As a life coach, I help artists cultivate relationships, finances, routines, mindfulness practices and belief systems that help them pursue the artistic life of their dreams. As a business coach, I help creatives define the way they want to make an entrepreneurial contribution to their community and the world and help them bring that vision to life through starting a business. Creatives can work with me in my 1:1 coaching program, or by participating in the numerous mini courses, workshops, webinars, group coaching sessions and speaking events that I offer throughout the year. I also offer voice lessons in a unique blend of life coaching and vocal instruction for singers who want to gain mastery of their instrument and take their singing to the next level. I believe that everyone is creative, and my mission is to help people in Durango and the surrounding area see the vital artistic contribution that they can make when they name and claim their role as an artist. I will be using this loan money to hire a business coach for myself so I can take my coaching and singing career to the next level. I will also be using the money to invest in Instagram and email courses so I can deepen my knowledge of digital marketing. I am so grateful to the Durango Creative District and First Southwest Community Fund for this opportunity to invest in and grow my business. Find me on Facebook and Instagram using @bailey.b.sings"

Bailey Barnes, owner

Mountain Monk Coffee


"I’m fortunate to be in a community, and part of a community that supports local economic wellbeing, small business development and diversity, and believes in the mission and vitality of my business, allowing me the opportunity to share the Mountain Monk vision within Durango."

Lacy Archer, owner