Columbus group wants to seed Toledo start ups - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Columbus group wants to seed Toledo start ups

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According to the US Commerce Department, small businesses create most of the jobs in the America.   But small businesses need money to get off the ground.  A non-profit group from Columbus that lends money to start up micro-businesses wants to open an office in Toledo.

Local small business owners like Stacey Turner see the benefit of financial help.

Stacey owns a little flower shop on LaGrange she calls "Blessed Blossoms."  She has 2-part timers working for here and about a thousand customers.  She says, "We service a lot of different funeral homes, credit unions, schools."

To get started, Stacey needed help putting together a business plan and she needed money.  Fortunately, banks were lending.  Stacey tells 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "We were able to get a loan.  I think compared to now, it would be next to impossible to get what we got 12 years ago."

Banks are not lending to people like Stacey anymore.

"We believe in capitalism and small business development."

So enter a group called the Economic and Community Development Institute.

ECDI loans money to *micro-business owners* like Stacey who have five or fewer employees.

Inna Kinney, CEO of the non-profit says, "There are people that have experience a lot of good talent but, because of the economy, they are getting displaced and this is the perfect time for somebody to go into business."

Over the last eight-years, ECDI has funded 2,000 micro-businesses that have created 4,000 jobs in Cleveland and Columbus.The Bell Administration and city council believe the group can seed start ups in Toledo.  Councilman Rob Ludeman (R-Toledo) says that will help the local economy.  Ludeman told 13abc, "The mainstay of our economy is small business.  The more that we can generate here in Toledo we might attract larger business that will follow."

But it's the dream of many people to start small.

Stacey started small but she could use another $20,000 to expand her flower shop.

But she knows it takes more than money... to be a success.  Stacey says, "I don't know what from day to day if I didn't have my heart and my faith in it, I wouldn't have made it."

Toledo hopes ECDI can help other business owners like Stacey make it.

Ironically, ECDI needs $250,000 to open its Toledo office and council seems willing to give the effort $125,000 from a community block grant.

Local economic development agencies would give the rest.

If council approves, small business could start getting seed money through ECDI by February.

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