Loyola University Maryland
December 13, 2017
Loyola University Maryland undergraduate students in the Sellinger School of Business and the College of Arts & Sciences have been working on a microfinance program, the York Road Microfinance Initiative, which provides business consulting services and encourages microfinancing options in the local community. The program—made possible through the support of OneMain Financial and a strategic partnership with Kiva, a nonprofit micro-lending website—allows students to partner with local business owners along the York Road corridor to offer consulting services in business strategy and underwrite microloans to those businesses.
Loyola students were tasked with forming and nurturing partnerships with business owners to address problems these owners face. To address some of these issues, students developed digital inventory systems, arranged launch parties, and helped to spread awareness of the fresh produce available at local stores. To assist the business owners in implementing the opportunities identified through the consulting phase, the students worked to help the businesses obtain microloans, typically small amounts of money lent for relatively short terms. Loyola facilitated the loan program through Kiva Baltimore with OneMain Financial’s grant. This program could spread beyond York Road to the larger Baltimore community in future years.
Support from OneMain Financial and a strategic partnership with Kiva Baltimore—the newest of the Kiva Cities—has allowed the microfinance pilot to be unique in scope. Loyola University Maryland, together with OneMain Financial, sponsored the launch of Kiva Baltimore because of their shared interest in the platform Kiva provides community entrepreneurs.
Abdulsamad "Abdu" Almabari, owner of Rossiter Corner Store and the Govans Deli, is one of the entrepreneurs partnering with the Sellinger School. Students recently helped fund the opening of Govans Deli with a $5,000 microloan through Kiva with OneMain Financial’s gift, allowing Abdu to refinance his current loans, some of which carry an excess of 10% interest, that were used to purchase refrigerators, ovens and other kitchen equipment.