Ohio Non-Profit Increases Business Capital Investments, Boosting Jobs, Reversing the Industry Trend

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Non-profit sector hailed as one of the fastest growing job creators groups and ECDI is lifting Ohio’s job numbers

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We don’t believe it does anybody any good to just give them money and hope they pay you back,” Eric Diamond, Vice President of ECDI’s Cleveland market said. “...we can walk them through a training course that will come up with a well defined business plan

A November Wall Street Journal Market Watch report showed third quarter business capital investment dropped by 2.2 percent, a disheartening number for thousands of small business owners and an alarming number for millions of Americans who depend on the jobs the small business community provides. In its first five months of existence, ECDI Cleveland is bucking the capital investment trend and contributing to job growth by raising more than five million dollars for Cleveland-area businesses. Many of those businesses are minority, woman and locally owned, driving dollars back into the local economy.

In a recent column Paul Schmitz, CNN contributor, cited the tremendous growth of the nonprofit sector and its ability to create jobs. ECDI Cleveland is an example of an Ohio non-profit helping to create jobs by acting as a non-traditional funding source for small businesses. In fact, 100 percent of the businesses ECDI Cleveland has invested in were turned down by traditional lenders. In many cases, businesses use these funds as working capital to pay new or existing employees.

“We don’t believe it does anybody any good to just give them money and hope they pay you back. So, when somebody comes into our office...we can walk them through a training course that will come up with a well defined business plan. It’s not just the money, it’s the technical assistance,” Eric Diamond, Vice President of ECDI Cleveland said.

For example, ECDI Cleveland invested an additional $400,000 in Green City Growers, a 3.25 acre hydroponic greenhouse in Cleveland’s east side. “ECDI anticipates that Green City Growers will employ about 22 people at start-up, and plans to expand to 42 people after five years,” Inna Kinney, ECDI’s founder and CEO said.

ECDI’s investments into small businesses go to the very heart of the economic needs of the Cleveland community - providing capital and guidance for businesses to create and grow employment opportunities. To date, the organization has had 23 loans approved for a combined loan amount of $474,200 for local Cleveland-area businesses. Eleven of those loans (48 percent) went to minority business owners. Fifteen (65 percent) of the loans went to women business owners, with an average loan amount of $20,617. Now, ECDI has more than five million dollars in loans in the pipeline for job-creating small business ventures.

Mattie Harris, president of ML Logistics is an ECDI success story. Harris started her trucking company with the help of ECDI. “They are more than microlenders[...]you need a group of people who understand your need, your vision and your dreams and help them come to life,” she says.

About ECDI:
The Economic & Community Development Institute is a Columbus, Ohio-based 501(c)(3) non-profit economic development organization founded in 2004. The mission for ECDI is to invest in people to create measurable and enduring social and economic change. We have helped more than 2,000 business owners and created 4,000 jobs via our comprehensive suite of programming available through our offices in Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio. Our programs and services have been supported by over $40 million in federal, state, local and private funds and have proven to create jobs, increase access to assets and spur local economic development. Learn more about ECDI’s business services by visiting them online at http://www.ecdi.org.

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