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Cuyahoga County Announces Microenterprise Loan Fund Agreement with Economic & Community Development Institute

$2 Million Funding Partnership to Provide Assistance to Start-up Businesses

CLEVELAND - Today, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced a two-year agreement with the Economic and Community Development Institute’s (ECDI) Cleveland Office to provide up to $2 million in small business loans to qualified microenterprises and entrepreneurs throughout Cuyahoga County. The Cuyahoga County Microenterprise Loan Program is designed to provide access to capital and technical counseling to aspiring new business owners finding it difficult to obtain traditional financing. The program provides microloans ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 to qualified small businesses that can be helped toward attaining more traditional loans within three to five years. The County’s Department of Development negotiated the agreement with ECDI to administer the program and provide specific technical assistance to both start-ups and established small businesses toward achieving these objectives.

“We are extremely pleased to be partnered with ECDI in this key entrepreneurial lending effort, as it advances our County’s driving principal of Job Growth and Opportunity,” said Budish. “The Microenterprise Program is an important effort to grow the number and size of enterprises owned by economically disadvantaged populations, expanding access to capital for underserved local communities and creating economic opportunities for all residents.”

The Economic and Community Development Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit economic development organization, started in 2004, and headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. ECDI opened a Cleveland-based office in 2012 to focus on micro lending in Cuyahoga County. ECDI provides innovative microenterprise capitalization programs and development training, business incubation services, financial literacy training and other programs and services geared to create jobs, increase access to assets, and to spur local economic development. ECDI is a U.S. Treasury Department-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and is the 3rd largest U.S. Small Business Administration intermediary microlender in the country. Since its inception ECDI has invested over $25 million through 1,250 small business loans, and created and retained over 4,600 jobs via their comprehensive suite of programs available through offices in Columbus, Cleveland, Akron and Toledo, Ohio.

“ECDI is thrilled to continue its productive relationship with Cuyahoga County in our collective mission to invest in people and ideas, creating measurable and enduring social and economic change in the region through the Microenterprise Program” said Inna Kinney, ECDI’s Founder and CEO.

In addition to the County’s financial commitment, the program’s loan capital will be sourced across a number of various funding sources available to ECDI, including SBA micro-loan funds, bank funds, and civic/philanthropic grant funds. This process ensures that County dollars are leveraged and risk in any individual loan is shared among multiple funding sources.

To date, the Cleveland ECDI Office has capitalized on the County’s MLFP and provided $1.5 million in high-priority loans to a broad host of small enterprises throughout Cuyahoga County: 52 loans to 38 businesses - of which 48% are minority-owned and 59% female-owned, 109 jobs created, and over 2,000 hours of technical assistance.

The Cleveland Foundation has also announced that it will be providing $174,807 to ECDI to support lending operations, bringing the foundation’s total investment in ECDI to over $1.6 million since 2011.

“We are delighted by the partnership between ECDI and Cuyahoga County, which serves to create jobs and strengthen our region’s economy,” said Cleveland Foundation President and CEO Ronn Richard. “We are proud to work with ECDI, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and others to help local businesses reach their full potential. Our latest grant reflects the foundation’s continued confidence in ECDI and the intrepid entrepreneurs and innovative enterprises who benefit from these microloans.”