The national nonprofit Local Initiatives Support Corporation
has partnered with the federal Small Business Association's Community Advantage
program. The local division of LISC will be providing loans up to $250,000 to Detroit businesses looking to open in low-income communities. The loans are also available to pre-existing businesses looking to make improvements.
The loan program focuses on businesses outside of the greater downtown area. It aims to assist the city's underserved neighborhoods. Detroit LISC
executive director Tahirih Ziegler says the loan program will provide an incentive for businesses to come further out and into the neighborhoods. LISC is currently targeting place-based programs in the Grandmont Rosedale, Springwells Village, and Grand-Woodward neighborhoods.
Loans are available for a variety of purposes, including business expansion, working capital, real estate development, equipment, tenant improvement, and facade improvement. Ziegler believes that the loans can attract new tenants to the empty storefronts that litter the city.
"This will free up capital for job creation and enable business owners to get footholds in the neighborhoods," says Ziegler. "One way we can help the neighborhoods is by bringing amenities to the neighborhoods."
In noting the importance of freeing up capital for small businesses to hire employees, Ziegler cites statistics that there were seven jobs for every small business in the 1990s and only four jobs per small business today.
LISC has been in Detroit for over 20 years and has awarded over $175 million in that time. The group awarded $6 million in lending in 2013, helping to open two grocery stores, 7 Mile Foods
and Parkway Foods, and a hardware store, Village Ace
The group is also working toward creating and maintaining affordable housing in the city of Detroit.
Source: Tahirih Ziegler, executive director of Detroit LISC
Writer: MJ Galbraith
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