New microloans support underrepresented businesses: University of Dayton, Ohio

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The Greater West Dayton incubator will soon begin accepting applications for a new microcredit program, which aims to support black-owned, women-owned and other under-represented businesses, as well as those that serve the community of Greater West Dayton.

“Microloans are important in helping to develop small businesses, especially for historically marginalized entrepreneurs who have faced barriers to traditional financing,” said Vince Lewis, director of the Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at UD, who oversees the program. “Our goal in providing these loans, along with other support services, is to promote equitable opportunities and in doing so create jobs and economic value that help shape a better future for our community. “

Cultural Capital’s microloans, which will range from $ 500 to $ 20,000, can be used for operating expenses, new equipment, website development, marketing, staffing and other costs. management of a business. Applications will be assessed on the basis of more flexible criteria emphasizing passion, persistence and planning.

“This program has the potential to provide direct access to capital to the Greater West Dayton community through intentional outreach,” said Cherrelle Gardner, who sits on the risk review committee. “A lot of businesses could be successful if they had even a small loan. to help them get started; however, these channels are limited for black and brown founders. Microcredits represent the opportunity for more targeted support in the community where entrepreneurs live and work from a program that is more invested in their success than traditional transactional loan models.

CityWide and Flyer Consulting, run by students, are partners in distributing microloans and supporting entrepreneurs in the loan process, education in financial well-being and other services.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this collaboration and to help bring these much-needed resources to under-represented businesses,” said Brian Heitkamp, ​​President of CityWide.

UD’s undergraduate students will gain experience in the area of ​​loans and loan portfolio management. They will also be involved in helping applicants who do not meet the loan criteria on their first application to reapply, as well as helping businesses that receive loans prepare to apply for additional financing from traditional banks.

“Flyer Consulting students are passionate about real-world impact, especially in our local community,” said Bryan Johnson, Managing Director of Flyer Consulting. “The Cultural Capital Microcredit Program will not only extend Flyer Consulting’s impact, but it will also allow our students to engage with the Greater West Dayton community. Additionally, our students will have the opportunity to support underrepresented business owners, an experience that cannot be found in the classroom.

The microcredit fund is supported by an anonymous donation to the University, and the Greater West Dayton Incubator continues to seek more partner banks and foundations to increase the size of the funding pool.

Under-represented business owners in the Greater West Dayton area who meet certain eligibility requirements, including having been in business for at least one year, can apply. Applications open October 4. More information, including details of upcoming information sessions, is available online.

The microcredit program builds on the efforts of the Greater West Dayton Incubator, created in partnership between community and university leaders to support under-represented businesses as they launch and grow by giving them access to a co-working space, advice, training, capital and other resources. More information about the incubator is available online.


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