In Cincinnati, LISC’s one-to-one matches for Kiva loans to local entrepreneurs are producing some sweet results. An article in Soapbox Cincinnati tells the stories of creative area women, including a gourmet carrot cake baker, who have grown their businesses thanks to the no-interest, no-fee—but big impact—loans.
The excerpt below is from:
Invest in business, invest in community
By Hillary Copsey, Soapbox Cincinnati
Charae Parks had been writing and rewriting her business plan for Chictore Boutique since 2015.
With a degree in retail merchandising and fashion development and a full-time corporate job, Parks had gone through business accelerator programs and done extensive research to revise and refine the idea: an all-inclusive events venue. She had scouted a location, a Covington storefront with a patio that would be perfect for everything from baby showers to corporate events. She knew what kind of decorations she’d need and what food she’d provide.
But Parks couldn’t find the money to make it happen.
Investors weren’t willing to take a risk on an untried entrepreneur. Parks is 28, divorced and the mother of one child; she couldn’t risk taking on a personal loan.
A Kiva loan — with a one-to-one match from LISC Greater Cincinnati — solved Parks’ dilemma. Chictore Boutique is set to open this fall. Fifty-one individual lenders through Kiva, plus LISC’s matching dollars, funded the business startup costs. Parks will repay the $3,000 loan over 24 months.
“If I didn’t have the Kiva loan, I wouldn’t have my storefront,” Parks said. “They really gave me the jumpstart I needed to get the ball rolling. And the matching (money) really helped me speed up the process.”
INVEST IN BUSINESS, INVEST IN COMMUNITY
Economic development is one aspect of LISC’s work helping communities throughout Greater Cincinnati grow stronger, more resilient and inclusive. Small businesses like Parks’ Chictore Boutique provide goods, services and jobs in neighborhoods, stabilize families, contribute to the tax base, and foster a sense of community, said Amber David, Small Business Specialist for LISC Greater Cincinnati.“It’s about building people and place,” David said.