The Be N’ Biz Fund is designed to provide young entrepreneurs with greater access to funding to start or expand a business. Research shows that young entrepreneurs have been historically underserved for many reasons, including a lack of established credit history, insufficient equity or security, minimal or no experience, and an inadequate business plan. Credit unions have an opportunity to leverage the fund to increase youth membership and awareness of the credit union ownership difference.
The Be N’ Biz Fund requires credit unions to provide an initial investment, which will be used to fund loans to entrepreneurs aged 18-30. Participating credit unions will hold shares in the fund, and will play a role on the fund’s board of directors and loan review committee. Loans will also be administered by local credit unions, to ensure that there is ongoing direct contact with the entrepreneurs. Integral to the success of the fund is the establishment of a mentoring component. To overcome some of the traditional funding barriers, providing access to business planning support and industry knowledge and guidance will be vital.
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