Friday, April 20, 2012

MERCEDES-BENZ USA AND THE CONSERVATION FUND PLANNED TO BACK FERN STUDIOS

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) and the nonprofit Conservation Fund have joined forces to back Fern Studios with a $7,500 loan, intended to foster the company's vision for creating hand-crafted artisan furniture made from sustainably sourced American hardwoods.

Programs like Kiva popularized the concept of microloans for global entrepreneurs, but small green businesses in the U.S. are still significantly underfunded. That's where The Conservation Fund's newest loan program, ShadeFund(TM), comes in.
 
ShadeFund raises capital through organizational donations for small loans to green entrepreneurs across the U.S. Mercedes-Benz USA, the inaugural corporate sponsor of this new effort, plans to announce up to nine Mercedes-Benz Signature ShadeFund Entrepreneurs as benefactors this year.

Entrepreneurs are selected in a number of categories, including sustainable farms, forestry and forest products, ecotourism and energy efficiency. ShadeFund loans range from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on need and project size.

"Green entrepreneurs are the future of American business," said ShadeFund's director, Rick Larson. He added, "Unfortunately, even the most creditworthy small businesses have a hard time getting loans today, and green entrepreneurs face an especially steep challenge because their business models are unfamiliar to traditional financial institutions. Most banks simply don't make small loans to young companies. We launched ShadeFund to fill the gap."

Roskey uses primarily claro walnut and Eastern hardwoods for his creations. Each piece of wood is sustainably sourced; the claro walnut comes from deteriorating orchards in California and the hardwoods include black walnut, oak, cherry and maple, which are often urban removal trees harvested due to disease or weather damage. Much of Fern's traditional lumber inventory comes from Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)-certified sawmills in New Jersey and Ohio, and a portion is found via urban removal arborists in upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Oregon and Northern California.

Fern Studios was profiled in the New York Times Home and Garden section and this national, high-profile exposure led to a number of recent commissions. Fern's work was featured at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show March 22-25 in Manhattan.

SOURCE: PR Newswire
 

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