MEO Appoints Craig Swift Business Development Director
By Sonia Isotov
Maui Economic Opportunity, Inc. (MEO) announced today the appointment of Craig Swift to position of Business Development Corp. (BDC) Director.
Craig brings over 20 years experience in the field of finance, business, and economic development to his new position as the leader of MEO BDC, a nonprofit micro-enterprise development program that provides micro-enterprise loans, business planning classes, and consultation services to the residents of Maui County.
“We are pleased to welcome Craig to the MEO ohana”, says MEO CEO Lyn McNeff, in a written statement. “Craig brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the position. His expertise in micro-lending and business training will greatly benefit the clients, program and community. We are looking forward to working with Craig and his team”.
The majority of Craig’s career was spent at Lokahi Pacific as a Loan Programs Manager and Business Analyst. He also has been a lecturer at the University of Hawaii Maui College teaching a course in Small Business Management. Craig received his MBA from the University of Hawaii and undergraduate degree from the University of Washington.
Craig will oversee MEO BDC’s small business startup and expansion loan programs where loans range from $500 to $10,000. He will also manage a “step” loan program which makes available loans up to $25,000 after six months of on-time payments on the initial loan. MEO BDC also has emergency loans available to small businesses who find themselves in need of a small amount of cash to get them over a cash-flow crunch. This fund offers $200-$2,000 in loans per client and a very quick turnaround time from application to funding.
Under the MEO BDC umbrella of small business development services is also the long-running Core Four Business Planning course, a 30-hour course that helps analyze business opportunities and plan for success. Over 1,550 students have graduated from these business planning courses. The course, usually scheduled in 3-hour sessions, is offered a total of 10 times per year through MEO BDC’s Wailuku (Maui) and Kaunakakai (Molokai) offices. Classes are also held in Hana and Lanai City (Lanai). Core Four guides the participants through the development of a realistic, achievable business plan. Financial Aid is available for this course through grants from Maui County Office of Economic Development and the State of Hawaii Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
Craig Swift assumes the director position previously held by Susie Thieman for eight years, while Thieman has moved on to a leadership role as interim executive director at Lokahi Pacific, as of August 2011.