ECONOMIC & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE (ECDI)
Who We Are: ECDI is an economic development organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with offices in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Cincinnati; and field operations in Toledo. ECDI is also a certified Community Development Corporation (CDC) and a U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). ECDI’s mission is to invest in people to
create measurable and enduring social and economic change. As one of the top SBA microloan intermediaries in the United States, with a service footprint across Ohio, ECDI fills a gap in the credit industry by offering
loans ranging from $750 to $350,000 to underserved entrepreneurs.
What We Do: ECDI offers all entrepreneurs a combination of lending, business trainings, one-on-one coaching, and access to incubator space. ECDI operates the only SBA-funded Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) in the State of Ohio, with centers in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, and the Food Fort, ECDI’s innovative food incubator and commercial kitchen. This one-stop-shop high-touch model helps underserved and low-income entrepreneurs on every stage of their small business journey.
Since 2004, ECDI has provided small business owners with over $53 million in startup or expansion capital, disbursed over 2,300 small business loans, served over 15,600 individuals,
and created and retained over 8,800 jobs in the state of Ohio.
Why We're Important: ECDI works with all entrepreneurs, but we focus our efforts on supporting underserved entrepreneurs, including those with low-moderate-income, women, people of color, and immigrants and refugees. Starting and maintaining a business is difficult for any entrepreneur, with 50% failing within the first five years, but systemic barriers that these populations face make it even more difficult to access the capital, markets, and industry networks necessary for small business success. ECDI’s combination of specialty loan products, incubation space, and intensive training services helps these underserved entrepreneurs overcome said barriers to launch and build thriving businesses.
How We Impact the Community: The economic impact of ECDI’s microlending to small business owners does not end with the initial capital infusion. The small businesses that ECDI funds hire employees, buy supplies, and contract out work to other businesses—creating a profound ripple effect on the local economy that strengthen historically marginalized communities and transforms lives. A 2018 study of ECDI clients, made possible by a grant from MasterCard Foundation, revealed the breadth of the economic impact of ECDI lending. The study found that the impact on the Ohio economy through ECDI clients comfortably exceeds $1 billion annually.
How You Can Help:
Donate: Help ECDI fight for economic justice. Your donations help fund our numerous business development and financial literacy programs providing an opportunity for all entrepreneurs to make their dream a reality.
Invest: ECDI developed the Invest Local Ohio program, which provides the opportunity to invest in small businesses in your community.
Volunteer: ECDI runs a Professional Advisor Network, matching professionals with clients in need of coaching in the volunteer’s expert area. The PAN program is run out of the Women’sBusiness Centers located in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.
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