Intern Confidential: Adam, Lending intern

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve been lucky this summer to have several fresh faces around the office as interns, rolling up their sleeves to learn what it takes to keep a community development organization like ours afloat. Here are their thoughts:

As a finance major, I came to ECDI hoping to learn about credit analysis, portfolio analysis, cash flows, and the use of financial ratios in ECDI’s lending department. Although I was able to learn about all of these things and more during my time here, what I learned about most was the importance of economic development in the lives of everyday Ohioans. Not only did ECDI’s activities help bring about measurable change in the lives of our clients, especially for our lending clients, but ECDI also worked very hard to support those individuals with technical assistance to ensure they would be successful even after their relationship with ECDI had ended. At ECDI this is common practice, but at many banks and mortgage lenders across the country, especially during the last few years, engaging in activities which knowingly harm their clients even before their business relationship is terminated was commonplace and eventually disastrous. While most banks in America do a good job of serving large businesses and medium to high wealth individuals, the riskiness and unprofitability of serving start ups and lower income individuals had made these clients targets for predatory lending long before the Great Recession completely ostracized them from traditional financing sources. « Read the rest of this entry »

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Intern Confidential: Catherine, Development Intern

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve been lucky this summer to have several fresh faces around the office as interns, rolling up their sleeves to learn what it takes to keep a community development organization like ours afloat. Here are their thoughts:

When I tell people I study Economics they ponder and think my days are full of analyzing numbers, finance, or some sort of math. I try to tell them that Economics isn’t all about math, and I haven’t been able to completely articulate what I mean, until I started working at ECDI.  Working at the Economic and Community Development institute is really about people, ideas, and innovation. Every day we work with people who want to make something of themselves. Young entrepreneurs and creative individuals who want to start their own business and provide for their families. We help them do that. And that’s what economics is to me. Utilizing creativity to make something happen.. -Catherine

Intern Confidential: Clark, Legal Intern

August 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’ve been lucky this summer to have several fresh faces around the office as interns, rolling up their sleeves to learn what it takes to keep a community development organization like ours afloat. Here are their thoughts:

I first heard of ECDI when listening to All Sides with Ann Fisher on WOSU.  Immediately after the program finished I hopped on the computer, looked up ECDI’s website, and sent an e-mail saying I wanted to volunteer there.  Working as a legal intern just happened to fall perfectly into my lap because the current legal intern was taking off for the rest of the summer.  Since my first day of working here, I have been nothing less than satisfied.  The people who work here are unparalleled, and so is their passion to make a real difference in people’s lives.

My desire to become an attorney comes from my passion to connect people through facilitating contracts.  I want to help people establish businesses, grow their businesses, as well as merge and acquire other businesses.  Working at ECDI has shown me that it takes a lot of business acumen to succeed as a small business.  Fortunately, ECDI understands this and works with business owners by providing training to help entrepreneurs achieve their goals.  ECDI and I understand how important small businesses are to our economy and society, and the only way we can get out of our country’s current debt situation is by working hard and supporting our own small businesses. -Clark, Legal Intern

Kiva City in your city

July 14, 2011 § Leave a comment


Last week, international microlending powerhouse Kiva announced an initiative to expand their alternative finance products to American small businesses. The project is called Kiva City, with the first targeted city being Detroit and the expectation of adding four cities including Columbus over the next two years.

I know what you might be thinking – aren’t there already microlenders serving Columbus? Well, the answer is yes but Kiva in some ways does offer a different product. Here’s an at a glance look at how I expect their programs to be different from ours.

Kiva City/ACCION: quick, personal credit score driven, one time injection of capital

ECDI: holistic, grass roots, technical assistance over the life of the loan

With Kiva City, it’s my belief that you may get a quicker turnaround from application to capital acquisition. However, if your personal credit score isn’t at the right tier, you may not be able to access the capital you need to grow your business with ACCION. Also, most microlenders cannot consider projections when vetting you for a loan. They have to look at this slice of time in your business, not how your business could grow and develop.

Again,  there is not much information available about how the Kiva City program will work and these are estimates based on how ACCION currently manages loan disbursement. Overall, I think that the more small businesses that can access capital, the better.

So, Kiva City, come check out the 614 area code. There’s a lot of work to be done here in the capital city, let’s get busy.

Honing your Craft

May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment


In less than two weeks, our brick schoolhouse will be the backdrop for a gathering of staggering creativity.

That’s right, the Midwest Craft Caucus will land in Columbus, Ohio on June 4th and 5th –  a small but mighty conference of knitters, designers, and makers of all stripes. Why should you attend the Craft Caucus? Well, in their words…

 – To learn strategies for growing and sustaining your handmade business.
 – To network with other handmade business owners and craft community leaders.
 – To brush up on business basics and learn online and offline methods to increase your visibility and sales.
 – To build a handmade business that is profitable, viable, and fulfilling

Think the Midwest Craft Caucus could help you access the know-how to turn your handmade passion into your paycheck? There are a few spots still available, so hop to.

Entrepreneur Academy – Next Week in ECDI Training

May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Food Safety, Level 1, Mandarin Chinese – Sunday, May 22nd 12 p.m. @ Kroger Marketplace Lewis Center. Earn food safety level one certification, taught in Mandarin Chinese. $25

Food Safety, Level 1, English – Monday, May 23rd, 1 p.m. @ ECDI. $25

Register online or tell a friend and get learnin’!

Entrepreneur Academy – This Week in ECDI Training

May 10, 2011 § Leave a comment


We’ve got a reputation for small business lending in the community, but we’re pretty proud of our diverse and dynamic training offerings. They aren’t just for our program participants either, we encourage all types of community members interested in small business development to scope out a training course. Here’s what we have to offer this week:

QuickBooks and Financial Management  – Wednesday, May 11th 6-9 p.m. $25
Learn how to set up QuickBooks for your biz!

Retail Design Basics – Wednesday, May 11th, 1-4 p.m. $40
Learn how rethinking your retail interior can improve your business. Instructors Tim Lai and Eliza Ho of Tim Lai ArchitecT.

Financial Literacy (English language)– Sunday, May 15th, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. $25
Basic financial literacy course, instructed in English.

Register online or tell a friend and get learnin’!