Chicago Expands Microlending Initiative with $1 Million Investment

Starting a new small business? Consider some help from the city, which is expanding its micro loan initiative. Chicago is offering $1 million in seed funding by 2016 to 300 new, or growing, small businesses.

“Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I know how important affordable capital is to a growing business,” says City Treasurer Stephanie Neely. “Our experience with microlending has been an unqualified success.”

The Chicago Microlending Institute (CMI), which helps to allocate and manage the funds, was created in May 2012. Since then, more than 110 small businesses have received over $900-thousand in loans. Borrowers can use the funds to help businesses expand, pay for new projects, and maintain/create new jobs. About 67% of those who have taken advantage of the loans received less than $10-thousand; 37% received less than $5-thousand.

“Small businesses are the engines of growth in our neighborhoods and the backbone of our economy, yet too many entrepreneurs report difficulty in obtaining the financing they need to start up or expand,” says Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “By partnering with City Treasurer Stephanie Neely we are expanding the market for small dollar loans and building upon the great success we’ve seen with our microlending initiative to create more opportunity and grow jobs.”

Click here to find out how you can apply for a micro loan. ❒

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