Microloans allow female entrepreneurs in Detroit to get their businesses off the ground

March 6
8:28 AM 2014

The "Angel Microloans" offered by the Michigan Women's Foundation to women entrepreneurs in Detroit has given them a chance to start their businesses, The Detroit News reported.

The microloans, which can range anywhere from $2,500 to $35,000, carry a low interest rate of 8%. Together with the loans, business support is also provided to the entrepreneurs. The foundation intends to give these loans, which was made possible by $750,000 from Huntington Bank, to 75 entrepreneurs, the report said.

Substantial returns are not the motivation for granting these loans as is the way of venture capital firms. Rather, they are meant to give support and encouragement to the women in Detroit so that they can be "producers and contributors." Sustainability and not quick growth is also the objective of these loans since they are given to lifestyle enterprises which don't necessarily exhibit rapid growth but are viable for the long-term, the report said.

One of the entrepreneurs applying for a microloan is Kim Ingram who intends to open her breakfast café Eggstraordinary by May. An Assistant Dean at Syracuse University, Ingram met Michigan Women's Foundation Executive Director Carolyn Cassin when she enrolled in an entrepreneurship class at the D:hive.

Ingram told The Detroit News, "I thought it would be a shame to open my restaurant in Syracuse, after a lifetime listening to friends in Detroit saying, 'you really should do that,' Once I came home, everything opened up for me." She added that she will push through with her plans to open her restaurant regardless of the result of her microloan application. However, just the act of sending in her application has brought her closer to that dream as she starts scouting for possible locations for Eggstraordinary, the report said.

According to Cassin, Detroit's female entrepreneurs don't have to earn piles of money from their endeavors. "They don't have to make millions. Just helping Detroit women contribute is important. Even a $5,000 investment can stabilize a family, have a ripple effect," Cassin told The Detroit News.

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