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LEAP PROGRAM LEVERAGES CROWDLENDING TO HELP FUND STARTUPS IN THE REGION

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is taking additional action toward increasing funding opportunities for regional entrepreneurs. LEAP has launched a new initiative c…

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is taking additional action toward increasing funding opportunities for regional entrepreneurs. LEAP has launched a new initiative called Fund Lansing, which aims to leverage a global online crowdfunding platform, called Kiva, to increase funding for small business owners throughout the region.

LEAP, an approved trustee with an executed agreement between the two organizations, will assist with the application process, provide business advice, and assist in marketing private funding campaigns. The lending system leverages private loans and crowdfunding to fund ideas.

“Adequate funding is a significant barrier for many of our regional entrepreneurs. It’s one thing to get your idea molded and positioned for market, but without funding, even the best ideas can stall,” said Tony Willis, director of LEAP’s New Economy Division. “Fund Lansing is meant to fill that gap, and the Kiva platform will open the doors to funding both within the region and from around the world.”

With the Kiva platform, borrowers who are eligible can apply for zero percent interest loans for $500 to $10,000. After review, approved applications move into a private fundraising phase. After the private fundraising phase, the loan goes public on the Kiva website and can be seen by funders from all over the world. Once fundraising goals are met, funds are distributed with repayment beginning during the next month.

With LEAP’s help, the city of Lansing, through the Lansing Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), has chosen to extend Kiva to eligible Lansing small businesses by matching loan funds raised by Kiva, dollar for dollar.

More information is available at purelansing.com/Fund-Lansing.

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