From Creating Access to Capital to Empowering Small Business for Big Change.
The Community Investment Collaborative initially grew from the personal experience of Toan Nguyen, owner of C’ville Coffee during the recession. After numerous conversations, a workgroup of 48 people with nonprofit, business and education backgrounds came together to better understand the financing difficulties faced by micro-enterprises in our region. It became clear that small businesses lacked access to appropriate financial solutions and a comprehensive support system necessary for business success.
After a study of existing microenterprise models throughout the country, numerous conversations with regional micro-lending organizations, local lenders, and local service providers, CIC identified the elements essential for microenterprise success in our local community. CIC would not only offer financing but also education, mentoring, and networking opportunities.
Each component helps to cultivate a local business network that connects aspiring entrepreneurs with existing entrepreneurs, city officials with nonprofit service providers, and state agents with local businesspeople, bringing together the impressive experience and expertise found in our community.
THE RIGHT MODEL FOR SUCCESS
CIC launched in 2012. Our program is built on four pillars designed to help entrepreneurs start or expand their business:
- An established and proven business-education program
- Extensive mentoring, peer discussions, and ongoing support
- Startup financing or ongoing microfinancing to qualified graduates
- Networking within and across the community