January 27, 2009

Johnson Program Helps Local Small Businesses

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BR MicroCapital, a microfinance business started at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, announced on Jan. 20 that it would offer lending and business support services to help microbusiness development in Tompkins County.
In a press release, Mike Pezone, grad, director of operations for BRM, explained that BRM’s work is fulfilling a local need by providing specialized, targeted support for microbusinesses, which are small businesses typically operated from the owner’s home.
The stated goal of BRM is to encourage development and inclusive wealth creation while at the same time assisting efforts to further local economic development.
“The top priority of our coaches is to help clients meet their business objectives,” Pezone stated. “Our goal is to partner with clients so they can rapidly progress along the learning curve of business development, leading to business growth and/or expansion.”
Pezone acknowledged that BRM will be one of many programs in Ithaca designed to assist local entrepreneurs. However, he believed that BRM would make a substantive contribution.
“As members of the Ithaca community and Johnson School students, we want to do our part,” he stated.
To that end, BRM, in partnership with the Alternatives Federal Credit Union in Ithaca, will offer small loans and consulting services to help business growth to help sustain success for participating small businesses.
To be eligible for assistance, clients must be self-employed people who work in the Tompkins County region and have run a business for a minimum of six months. Preference is given to people who earn less than 75 percent of the median income in Tompkins County and have limited access to formal financial systems due to poor or no credit history or limited collateral.
Established in May 2008, BRM is a student-led organization based in the Johnson School’s Center for Sustainable Global Enter-prise.