While there are many methods that promote economic development besides lending, Mountain West has elected to work with partners on entrepreneurial projects including entrepreneurial education, aiding and sponsoring rural development leadership conferences, and assisting larger economic development activities that help to grow and maintain small businesses especially rural small business.
One such activity is the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, UT. In a 2012 study of the Festival’s economic impact in Cedar City and the surrounding area, it was found that the total impact was estimated at more than $35 million annually. That was six years ago and the Festival continues to grow each year with a current annual budget of $7 million in 2018. Why is this important to Mountain West? The answer is simple, we have contributed to the Festival in a number of ways but chief among them is our support of Shakespeare-in-the-Schools for the last eighteen years. Mountain West has also committed funds to help build new facilities and other attractions unique to the Festival.
One such attraction is a bronze statue of Cleopatra commissioned by Mountain West to be placed in the Pedersen Shakespeare Character Garden. The piece was the work of Dennis Smith, internationally known bronze sculptor, unveiled April 23, 2018. Dennis also happens to be one of the thousands of small businesses that has grown and prospered due to a 504 loan from Mountain West earlier in his career.
At the unveiling Steve Suite, Chief Administrative Officer of Mountain West was given an opportunity to say a few words that are paraphrased below:
President Wyatt, Frank (Mack), Fred (Adams), Brian (Vaughn), Dennis (Smith), Scott (Davis )our Chief Executive Officer at Mountain West and invited guests:
Allow me to begin with a line from “Anthony & Cleopatra,” Act 4; “All strange and terrible events are welcome, But comforts we despise.” This reminds me of our business, Mountain West Small Business Finance, we are unusual, a private non-profit commercial lender, we don’t like being “comfortable,” we help all types of businesses especially those that others see as “strange or terrible” especially businesses in rural areas, we’re not in commercial lending for the credit and we commit a sizable amount of our resources to other non-profits and projects for economic development.
We’re grateful to the Festival for getting us deeply involved with Michael Bahr and members of the Development Team that steered us toward the Educational Tour which we have sponsored for eighteen years. This, in turn, has lead us to involvement in other Festival developments. It is important to us that people know Mountain West supports the largest source of economic development in Southern Utah next to the National Parks.
We know that the festival is in good hands with Frank Mack as Executive Producer and Brian (Vaughn) as Artistic Director. We want to thank Dennis Smith for this representation of Cleopatra. We are proud to be associated with this project and our name on the base.
Scott and I have been coming to the Festival for at least 28 years with our families and years before that with friends. It is what we do in the Summer. Just to prove there is something for everyone at the Festival I’d like to end with a quote from one of my son-in-laws, “I don’t know much about this, I’m just here for the tarts.” Thank you.