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Monday, 27 August 2012 14:20

GROW program provides access to microloans

Written by  Kelly Hill
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GRAND RAPIDS — A new program from Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women helped two entrepreneurs access much needed funding.

Emor Shoes owner Ebony Moore needed cash to improve her company’s website and to purchase inventory at a shoe expo presented by the Fashion Footwear Association of New York. Meanwhile, Kathryn Snyder, who owns the Well-Mannered Dog Center, needed funds to prepare her business for competitive dog performance trials she plans to begin this fall. Both Moore and Snyder got help from GROW’s microloan program.

The GROW microloan program started last year as a pilot project funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration. As MiBiz reported in July, GROW secured $200,000 in funding from the SBA to help make the microloan permanent. As microloans are repaid, the money goes back into the fund to support future microloans.

Microloans of $1,000 to $50,000 are available to small business owners in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ionia, Barry, Allegan and Kalamazoo counties.

Entrepreneurs can use the loan to buy equipment, machinery, furniture, fixtures and materials and for operating capital. They must repay the loan within six years.

Founded in 1989, GROW is a nonprofit economic development organization. It works to provide promising entrepreneurs of all racial, income or gender backgrounds, with opportunities to develop their skills and to acquire the knowledge they need to achieve economic independence through self-employment, primarily through small business start-ups and expansion of existing businesses.

“I graduated from the GROW program in 2009 with a completed business plan that guided me through several marketing strategies and events for Emor Shoes,” said Moore, whose company specializes in shoes sized 8-14. “After building a contact list through trunk shows and focus groups, I launched my website and continued to market the company through social media. I’ve had the privilege of working with GROW, an outstanding organization that provides you with the right tools and great resources to achieving your goals.”

Read 1121 times Last modified on Monday, 27 August 2012 14:21

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