In 2015, a local couple came to the Community Foundation with an idea. Entrepreneurs themselves, they wanted to support new and growing businesses in the area through accessible loans. The idea was a seed that grew into MICRO, an award-winning program that provides low-interest loans and other resources to entrepreneurs in Cedar Rapids.
MICRO was made possible by the many nonprofit organizations, governmental groups, and donors who offered financial and administrative support. The program earned the 2018 Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships, presented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Council on Foundations.
To date, MICRO has provided 24 loans totaling over $238,000. This year, the administration of MICRO has moved to the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), who will accept applications directly, award loans, and accept donor contributions to the program.
“As a convener and fundraiser, the Community Foundation was excited to be a part of bringing this project to life,” said Jean Brenneman, CFO. “The revolving loan fund is now established and sustainable, so it fits well into ECICOG’s suite of opportunities for small business owners.”
Loan recipients will continue to be supported by resources and business coaching offered by the Small Business Development Center at Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids Public Library, and SCORE programs.
To learn more about MICRO, visit ecicogrlf.org.