Northeastern University in Boston has announced a new program aimed at helping entrepreneurs in the area who are women or members of minority racial or ethnic groups. The Impact Lending program will offer loans at below market rates to these entrepreneurs for the purposes of expanding their businesses. The loans can be used for a variety of business needs, including hiring new staff, obtaining new equipment and facilities, and purchasing inventory. The goal of the program is to serve 85 small businesses and create 330 jobs in the first two years.
The university is committing $2.5 million in seed funding for the project, which it says will allow for a revolving fund of $6.5 million in loans. The university has partnered with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a nonprofit organization that provides loans and advisory services to underserved small businesses. LISC will administer and oversee the loans, ranging from $1,000 to $1 million, with the university’s seed funding serving as a guarantee.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, notes that “Boston is home to a diverse network of entrepreneurs and small business owners. Ensuring that these local small businesses are able to expand will contribute to Boston’s economic growth. Diversity is key to our city’s success, and I’m proud to support Northeastern and LISC in the Impact Lending program.”