Toan Nguyen recognized the need to create a pathway for low-income individuals to achieve financial independence through his involvement with the Dialogue on Race. He gathered 48 individuals through a series of meetings in February and March 2011 with the goal of creating a micro-lending organization for the City of Charlottesville and surrounding counties. Through research and discussion teams, they used their expertise to further hone the idea of CIC. From those meetings, a Leadership Team was formed to determine the mission and strategy of this organization. The Leadership Team consisted of Gorden Bennett, Wendy Brown, Hebah Fisher, Jody Joy, Don Martin, Toan Nguyen, Paula Pagonakis, Ridge Schuyler, and Philippe Sommer.
The Leadership Team determined that creating a microlending organization alone would not be sufficient to assist entrepreneurial pursuits. Instead, CIC would offer education and mentoring as well. Each component helps to cultivate a local business network that connects aspiring with existing entrepreneurs, city officials with nonprofit service providers, state agents with local businesspeople, bringing together the impressive experience and expertise found in our community.
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