For people dreaming of opening a small business, finding funds can be a problem. Often, large financial institutions won’t hand out small-dollar loans to the smallest fledgling companies. Access to capital is even harder for marginalized populations – entrepreneurial women, people of color, veterans, immigrants or members of the LGBTQ community.
The organization Business Impact Northwest has stepped in to fill this void.
Board chair Phil Jones, who also heads Harborstone Credit Union, says the group provides training to new business owners.
“We’re providing these to folks who for the most part from traditional banking have been ignored,” he says. “They’re not invited to those meetings that they’re having, so we make it specific to those folks that they can get the training and assistance they need.”
Jones says Business Impact Northwest facilitates loans to people often needing $40,000 or less. Across Idaho, Oregon and Washington, they’ve helped food trucks, dog-supply retailers and even a boxing gym get off the ground.
Jones says credit unions are focused on building communities and so it’s no coincidence that they’re involved. He says by supporting these small businesses, Business Impact Northwest is providing many perks to communities.
“In our communities that are sort of disadvantaged-type communities, they’ll build the business and they’ll hire from within that community,” he explains. “So it’s sort of a double benefit. They get to grow their business but they’re also hiring in that community that might have been experiencing unemployment. And so it’s great.”
Business Impact Northwest has been helping small businesses for more than two decades. The organization provides business counseling, help with business plans, tips for expanding and more.