Sam Adams Microlending Program Comes to Ohio

The Boston Beer Co. is bringing its small business microlending program to the Buckeye State.

The Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program assists low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs in the food, beverage, and hospitality industries by providing them with loans ranging from $500 to $25,000, as well as business education and financial literacy courses.

When Jim Koch, Cincinnati native and founder of The Boston Beer Co., went into business for himself back in 1984, he felt the odds were stacked against him.

“I’ve never forgotten how hard it is for the ‘little guys’ to get started,” Koch says.

Candace Klein hasn’t forgotten either.

Klein, an attorney, couldn’t help but notice that many of her female clients were unable to secure adequate funding from banks for their small businesses. So in 2010, she founded Bad Girl Ventures, a microlending organization for women in the Greater Cincinnati region, as a way to support them.

“Bad Girl Ventures was my way of finding a creative solution to meet not only my clients’ needs, but the needs of all women with small business ideas,” she says.

BGV has been lobbying to expand the Brewing the American Dream program into Ohio since last spring.

“As a startup microfinance organization in Ohio, our goal is to attract as many different forms of capital for small business and startups in Ohio as possible,” Klein says. “In addition, our mission is very similar to that of Sam Adams: to offer a leg up for the little guy− or gal. When I learned about this program in San Franisco in May, I was convinced that it would find a good home in Jim Koch’s childhood home and continued to pursue them until now.”

BGV will scout for potential Brewing the American Dream participants and provide on-the-ground training, Klein says.

Southwest Ohio training courses will be held at the Emanuel Community Center, located at 1308 Race Street in Cincinnati. Course locations for other Ohio markets have yet to be determined.

To be considered for a Brewing the American Dream loan, business owners must have:

  • • a credit score above 575
  • • own fewer than four locations
  • • no bankruptcies in the past 12 months
  • • no foreclosures in the past 24 months
  • • no late payments on their rent or mortgage in the past 12 months
  • • less than 3,000 in past due debt
  • • 2:1 cash flow coverage

Since its establishment in New England in 2008, Brewing the American Dream has provided more than $500,000 in financing to 60 entrepreneurs who have saved or created more than 500 jobs.

Interested parties can learn more online at or contact Klein via email at [email protected].