Micro Loans Take Off Through Collaborative Mentorship
Among the 20-plus organizations served by Choices Federal Credit Union is a group of small business development centers.
The seven-year-old cooperative in St. Louis with $437,000 in assets and a little over 400 members still felt that it could meet a growing need for those graduating from those SBDCs that, despite completing a 10-week intensive small business curriculum and putting together a business plan, were being turned down for the smallest amounts of start-up capital.
Both Choices Federal and St. Louis Community are community development credit unions and community development financial institutions and are familiar with the funding application process to assist underserved and low income areas, said Kirk Mills, executive vice president and chief financial officer at St. Louis Community.
“The need is great,” Mills said. “The more we can collaborate, the more we can leverage and bring more to the market. It was a natural fit.”