One of the main objectives of ECDI is to meet each client where they are. In 2018, ECDI launched Lending Circles—a program created to extend ECDI’s lending reach to marginalized populations who may not yet be ready or able to engage with ECDI individually. ECDI is able to accomplish this by extending individual small business loans to Lending Circle participants, which are secured by a group guaranty rather than an individual guaranty of repayment. Often, these entrepreneurs are New Americans and require comprehensive attention through one-on-one technical assistance. Because the loan is based on social collateral and the loan amount is minimal, this is an amazing opportunity to test out a business idea, learn about forming a business, and begin positive credit reporting.
On the broader side of the scale, ECDI made some big moves in 2018.
A key objective this year was to focus on neighborhoods. ECDI is making good on our commitment to work in Ohio’s neighborhoods by further expanding the footprint of the organization with physical offices throughout the state. ECDI opened a satellite office and Women’s Business Center (WBC) in the Greater Cincinnati market and will open a branch in Canton in early 2019.
In addition, ECDI’s OH3C program, funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, targeted distressed or core urban neighborhoods in Ohio’s three largest cities: Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. By helping residents start and sustain businesses that create jobs and boost the local economy, this partnership with other community development financial institutions across the state aims to create vibrant communities so that no one has to leave their neighborhood to live in a better one.
The Capital for Construction program, now in its second year, expanded out of Columbus and into the Cincinnati market. This is a quick loan product designed to give minority contractors and subcontractors the working capital to bid on bigger projects, which they may normally be outbid on due to scale and resources.
Another exciting initiative in 2018 was ECDI’s partnership with the Veteran LLC Collaborative, a multi-state collective dedicated to guiding veteran entrepreneurs through the challenges of small business ownership and development.
As the year comes to its conclusion, we at ECDI are incredibly grateful to be able to do the work that we do every day, none of which would be possible without the support of our funders. The past year has involved strengthening our culture to support our purpose and mission in everything we do. ECDI’s mission is to invest in people to create measurable and enduring social and economic change. In 2018, we disbursed 274 loans, held over 2,200 training hours, helped create 114 new businesses and 465 jobs, and assisted in retaining 496 jobs. We look forward to keeping our positive momentum by making 2019 an even more impactful year for entrepreneurs in Ohio.
Since 2004, ECDI has assisted Ohio’s entrepreneurs through its one-stop shop business services model, suited to meet the needs of all entrepreneurs, regardless of what business stage they’re in. From providing capital to entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses, to providing focused, business-specific educational opportunities to enhance entrepreneurial skill sets, ECDI works with their clients to meet their unique needs. Whether assisting a new client with a business concept or an accomplished entrepreneur opening a fifth location, ECDI’s “never say no” approach has allowed over twelve thousand entrepreneurs to take advantage of the services it provides. Visit ecdi.org today to learn more.