Grand Rapids — Grand Rapids-based Microrender has changed its name from Grand Rapids Women’s Opportunity growing up Because it focuses on increasing the number of loans to SMEs.
Grow is also one of the community development financial institutions (CDFIs) funded by the state under a budget agreement signed today by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Founded in 1989, the organization has been CDFI since 2016 and will receive a portion of the $ 75 million CDFI state grant.
“This is an important investment for the Michigan CDFI industry,” said Grow CEO Milinda Ysasi. MyBiz..
According to Ysasi, budget allocation is the first for Grow and will contribute significantly to the organization’s mission as it aims to expand under the new brand and familiarize more SMEs with the organization.
“Many people think of us for a purely programmatic effort, but we really understand the dynamics that we are lenders and companies need multiple types of loans and capital. I say I’m doing it, “says Ysasi. “We also let people know that we are not just for Grand Rapids, but for women.”
Grow has a racial equity perspective and targets historically disadvantaged groups, helping many colored women to take out business loans. Through a rebranding effort, Grow aims to increase lending to business owners, regardless of gender, who cannot connect to traditional sources of funding, according to Ysasi.
The organization is one of 147 microrenders nationwide offering small and medium business loans of up to $ 50,000 backed by the US Small and Medium Business Administration.
Grow also received funding from the US Treasury’s CDFI Fund. This includes $ 200,000 in 2021 through the Rapid Response Program, a fund that provided $ 1.25 billion in capital for the COVID-19 pandemic. .. According to the Treasury, Grow in 2020 received $ 400,000 from the fund in financial support. This is consistent with a non-federal fund and in 2017 received $ 125,000 in technical assistance for capacity building. The organization reported in its 2020 annual report that it had total assets of over $ 2.38 million.
Grow has been working to expand this financing to SMEs that previously lacked access to capital. His previous clients include different types of retailers, restaurants and consulting firms.
“Looking at the dynamics of business loans, we generally don’t go to women, people of color, refugees or migrants,” Isashi said.
Grow has invested $ 937,184 in 69 companies over the last two years. Women-owned businesses accounted for 73% of loans, and 27% of recipients were colored women. Low-income to medium-income business owners also accounted for 69% of loans.
According to Ysasi, the organization aims to increase the number of business loans it makes this year to 96 and lend more than $ 1.9 million over the next five years.
“We want to be there to cheer up entrepreneurs,” Isashi said. “Our average loan is $ 8,500, some say it’s not that much, but for small businesses, it’s hiring new people, offering more cash, or buying new equipment. It may mean that.
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