Thursday, September 30, 2010

Microfinancing in New York City and Elsewhere

I'm always on the prowl for business grant money, for the same reason people track down two-headed animals--it's a real rarity.  I have come across an article in the Utne Reader this year that piqued my interest--and should pique yours, if you are an aspiring microenterprise person (a "microenterprise" being a business that takes less than $35,000 to start, with fewer than 5 employees).  In Turning Hustlers into Entrepreneurs, Kai Wright looks at the efforts of differnt groups in turning people with a small business dream into small businesspeople.  Many of these people don't have access to banks and traditional business finance sources, and microenterprise lenders are trying to level the playing field for them. 

One organization they focused on is the Business Outreach Center Network, which offers business training and small loans to clients who are largely immigrants in New York City and recently, in Newark, New Jersey.  Those going through the training are eligible to apply for $1,000 grants.  Acorrding to the article, the BOC Network has given away more than $170,000 in grants in seven years. 

But there is also information on ACCION USA, a microlender that lends all across the United States, with loans of up to $50,000.  In most places in the US, you can apply to them online, and in a few places, in person.  They also give business training. 

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