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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today kicked off a series of small business lending events co-hosted by the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) and Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Microfinance Group (CNI) to help neighborhood small businesses interested in gaining access to capital needed to help them grow or to keep their doors open. WBDC and CNI have a total of $700,000 in microloans available now for businesses across Chicago through the Chicago Microlending Institute program. As a result of the City’s commitment to the Microloan Institute over the last couple of years, over $1.4 million in loans have been distributed to 157 businesses and the program continues to support more small businesses as repayments are made. Many of the businesses coming in for loans are repeat clients that have successfully grown their businesses and continue expanding.
“Small businesses are the economic backbone of Chicago. They support jobs in our neighborhoods and they are essential to the economic vibrancy of our City. Together with the Women’s Business Development Center and Chicago Neighborhoods Initiatives, we are working to ensure that every entrepreneur and every business has the chance to not only survive, but to thrive,” said Mayor Emanuel.
Too often, small business owners are given the impression that financing does not exist for loans of $250,000 or less. The “Connecting to Cash” series of events will raise awareness of available capital, both for microloans of less than $25,000 and medium-sized loans of up to $250,000. Business owners will have the opportunity to talk directly with lenders, previous microloan recipients and City departments. Four events will be held around the city to raise awareness of this available capital. The first event will take place at Demera Restaurant, 4801 N Broadway St. in Uptown from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM on November 13. Additional events will take place through the end of the year on the following dates:
• November 17 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Blue Buddha Boutique, 1127 W. Granville Ave. in Edgewater
• December 4 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Good City, 5049 W. Harrison St. in Austin
• December 17 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Fleck’s Coffee, 343 E. 79th Street in Chatham
Registration is required for all events. Additional information and registration is available at http://www.wbdc.org/Events/UpcomingWorkshopsEvents.aspx:
In 2012, Mayor Emanuel launched the Chicago Microlending Institute with $1 million to help businesses access loans up to $25,000. In 2014, the Mayor and the City Treasurer invested an additional $1 million to provide critical loans that would help support roughly 300 new businesses by 2016 and ensure that the CMI program can be self-funding through 2016.
In addition to the $700,000 in microloans available, representatives from the City’s Capital Access Center Program will be on hand to work with small businesses seeking loans between $25,000 and $250,000. Capital Access Centers were a follow-on to the Microlending program to help support businesses that are at the next stage in their growth. The program was announced by Mayor Emanuel in October 2014 with the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and in partnership with Accion and World Business Chicago.
Other lenders including Citibank, Valley Economic Development Corporation, Wintrust, and US Bank will also be on site for this event along with representatives from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, the City of Chicago Small Business Center, and the Department of Procurement Services.
Small businesses can visit the City’s Small Business Center at www.cityofchicago.org/sbc or in room 800 of City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St. to learn more about access to capital in Chicago.