New microcredit program arrives in St. Clair County – The Voice

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The Community Foundation of St. Clair County is investing $ 250,000 in Michigan Women Forward to provide microloans to local entrepreneurs.

“This is an exciting investment linked to the mission of our foundation and will provide our local entrepreneurs and small business owners with access to capital for their business, as well as tools, resources and a additional support for success, ”said Randa Jundi Samman, chair of the board of directors of the Community Foundation. said in a recent press release. “Michigan Women Forward has a track record of providing microcredit in the Detroit metro area and beyond. With this investment from our foundation, MWF will be able to provide microloans specifically in St. Clair County to help support the growth and development of our local small businesses and startups.

MWF targets small businesses that need capital to trigger initial business moves or drive new strategic changes in their business. The focus is on empowering women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color, but funding is open to everyone.

A microcredit is a loan to small businesses between $ 2,500 and $ 50,000, said Hannah Heebner, MWF development manager.

“Microloans at MWF are different because they are designed for entrepreneurs who are considered ‘unbankable’ and are excluded from traditional lending institutions due to lack of credit and systemic discrimination,” he said. She said. “The MWF team works together to prepare entrepreneurs to apply for a loan, build trust with each borrower, and provide flexibility in loan repayment. Many borrowers improve their credit scores through repayment, as MWF is the only microlender in Michigan to report payments to credit bureaus.

MWF hopes to provide local businesses with the capital they need to grow effectively and efficiently and ultimately be ready to obtain financing from more traditional sources of capital, the statement said.

“We have local businesses that, for various reasons, do not have access to traditional sources of capital,” Community Foundation Fund and Investment Committee chair Nicholas DeGrazia said in the statement. “This is why we believe it is important to have a dedicated source of funding for microcredit that our local entrepreneurs have access to.

He said the MWF is linked to the Council of Michigan Foundations and their work in microcredit has been highlighted statewide.

“The Community Foundation knew we didn’t have the manpower or the expertise to provide this type of service on an ongoing basis, but our small businesses needed access to capital and even more business opportunities. ‘learning and support,’ he said. “So the foundation’s finance and investment committee supported a $ 250,000 investment with MWF to do these things on our behalf for our community. We’ve been exploring this type of program with Michigan Women Forward for a few years now. The pandemic has delayed implementation, but we are ready to roll now. “

MWF President and CEO Carolyn Cassin said MWF was delighted to establish a microcredit fund in the county.

“It is through our relationships with organizations like the Community Foundation and many others that we are able to provide entrepreneurs with the capital they need to start or grow their businesses, as well as the resources and skills necessary for them. successful business, ”she said. “This commitment from the Community Foundation brings an effective and efficient statewide microcredit program to St. Clair County. MWF is proud to be its partner in this economic development effort.

Michigan Moving Forward President and CEO Carolyn Cassin signs the infamous The Roost & The Hatch signature wall during a recent site visit. (Courtesy of the St. Clair County Community Foundation / Facebook)

The MWF Microloan Fund will provide access to capital in the form of microloans in the amount of between $ 2,500 and $ 50,000. Applications are available online, and a dedicated MWF loan officer will work with applicants throughout the process, customizing the level of support each business needs.

Heebner said MWF’s average loan size is around $ 25,000, so she predicts that the foundation’s investment will directly affect 10 entrepreneurs in the county, prioritizing women, minorities and low-income people. to moderate.

“Of course, we know that the investment will also have an impact on all those who are hired due to the growth of small businesses, as well as on the communities and families of those who receive a microcredit,” she said. declared.

St. Clair County businesses wishing to apply or find more information are encouraged to call 313-962-1920, email [email protected], or visit the MWF MicroLoans website at miwf. org / wei / mwf-microloans.

“This new loan opportunity for local businesses is an extension of the community and economic development work that the Community Foundation has been doing for several years through our Community Capital Club, then the loans and grants provided during the pandemic, and it builds on the work Kanchan Wankhede did when she was our small business consultant, ”said Jackie Hanton, vice president of the Community Foundation.

MWF was founded in 1986 by 20 visionaries who designed an organization that would encourage women to take active roles in philanthropy and governance, the statement said. MWF is a community development organization with a mission to expand economic opportunities, empower the next generation, and celebrate and honor the achievements of Michigan women.

For more information, visit miwf.org.

Emily Pauling is a writer for The Voice. She can be contacted at [email protected]

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