Microlending Targets Local Funding 'Gaps'Posted: Updated:
The president of the Indy Chamber says a microloan program, which the organization calls the largest run by a chamber anywhere in the U.S., is having a "profound" impact on the community. Michael Huber says the initiative has funded nearly two dozen businesses to the tune of more than $700,000 in two years. He tells Inside INdiana Business the program fills gaps for many types of businesses including retailers, small manufacturers and professional service providers. October 20, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - In 2012, the Indy Chamber's Business Ownership Initiative (BOI) established its microloan program, offering a variety of loan products to small business owners in the Indianapolis region. Today, with the help of partners including the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the City of Indianapolis, more small business are reaping the big benefits of these loans.
"Every day at the Indy Chamber, we see business owners and budding entrepreneurs come through our doors looking for resources and assistance to better their business and boost their bottom line," said Michael Huber, president & CEO of the Indy Chamber. "This microloan program has undoubtedly had a profound impact on our business community and that, coupled with our business coaching and other resources, will continue strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit in Indy for years to come."
Since the program's inception in 2012, BOI has awarded 31 loans totaling over $708,000 to 22 small businesses. These loans have gone toward a wide array of uses including purchasing equipment, upgrading store facades, filling payroll gaps, and more.
"The long-term success of Indy rests not only with large companies, but in our ability to encourage and grow small businesses in our community," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. "Small businesses enhance our economy and improve our quality of life. This microloan program offers many small businesspeople the opportunity to make their entrepreneurial dream a reality."
Since announcing the partnerships with the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the City of Indianapolis, a majority of microloan funding has been awarded this year, including $365,000 in City funds and $276,800 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
"When we launched this initiative, we were confident that focusing our City funds on small businesses in targeted economic areas around the TIF (tax increment financing) district would prove to be an impactful strategy for helping strengthen those communities economically," said Vop Osili, Indianapolis City-County Councillor. "Today, we are celebrating these successes and looking forward to many more in the future."
Microloan programs have become increasingly important to the business community since the economic collapse in 2008 that put more restrictions on how banks can serve small business loans. Securing the funding from Chase created an unprecedented $2 million microloan fund, positioning the Indy Chamber as the nation's only chamber of commerce in the country with such a large microloan fund.
"Chase's partnership with the City of Indianapolis and the Indy Chamber on the innovative microloan program is a natural fit for us because it not only provides funding, but also on-the-ground assistance," said Al Smith, chairman of Indiana for Chase. "The partnership demonstrates one more aspect of our support for American small and emerging businesses across the country and those companies are what drive our economy forward."
Loan applicants must meet with a business coach who will assist them in the application process prior to submission to the BOI loan committee for approval. To find out more about the microloan programs available, call BOI at 317-464-2200 or visit their website at BusinessOwnership.org.
About Indy Chamber
The Indy Chamber is the voice of progress and improvement for the Indianapolis region's business community. With membership of nearly 2,500 businesses representing 230,000 employees in the Indianapolis region, the Indy Chamber is leading the effort to strengthen the business climate, improve the state of education, revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the region's workforce. In 2012, the Indy Chamber merged with Indy Partnership, Develop Indy, and Business Ownership Initiative. For more information about the Indy Chamber, visit IndyChamber.com.
Source: Indy Chamber