Anyone looking to start or expand a business in west Bloomington can get financial help from a new microloan program.
The West Bloomington Revitalization Project has launched Supply Success. It received seed money from private donors and New Covenant Community Church in Normal to offer two no-interest loans of up to $1,000 this year, with hopes of expanding the program in the future.
Bevin Choban, chair of the WBRP economic development committee and its board secretary, said she suspects there are many home-based businesses and those with side jobs in west Bloomington that could benefit.
“We’ve got an anecdotal sense that is the case in the community in west Bloomington,” Choban said. “My hope is that this will open the door for folks to make the leap and expand those businesses.”
Choban added the mission is to advance economic growth in west Bloomington.
“We don’t think $1,000 is going to help somebody start a business all by itself,” Choban conceded. “The goal is hopefully that $1,000 can help remove a barrier to starting or expanding that business.”
New Covenant also supports microloans in developing countries. Choban added the church wanted to support a similar program in the local community.
Borrowers will be asked to provide a basic business plan and will have to detail how they and the business will benefit the community.
“I know the challenges and rewards of being a small business owner,” said Tahnee Lathrop, owner of Retrofit Culture on Washington Street. “I got involved with the WBRP because I want this to be a community where entrepreneurs can be successful.”
Applications are available online and at the WBRP office at 724 W. Washington St. Applications are due Nov. 5.
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