Micro-loans offered to Evanston businesses


The Evanston Community Development Corp. is offering a limited number of loans to Evanston-based small businesses seeking to improve and expand their operations.

The recession has hurt every business, ECDC Chairman Bill Logan said in a release to announce the initiative.   This new loan fund will help local firms to access the capital they need for new equipment at very low cost.

ECDC micro-lending is funded in part by the Westside Tax Increment Financing District, North Shore Community Bank, and First Bank & Trust Evanston. Loans are offered at 0 percent interest with repayment over two years.

Precious Wright, ECDC program director, said loans will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis, at a maximum amount of $5,000 per applicant. All businesses are required to work with a business mentor during the loan term and pay an application fee of $50.

Any Westside business is eligible to apply. Women and minority-owned businesses throughout Evanston also will be considered, Wright said, as will other businesses located in Evanston Community Development Block Grant target areas.

The first recipient of an ECDC loan, Ebony Barbershop, is a second-generation full-service barbershop. Current owner Brigitte Giles is the daughter of longtime business owner Marshall Giles. After she took ownership of the West Side business she approached ECDC for a loan to renovate the shop.

ECDC provided funding for new flooring, lighting and other improvements. With much prayer, sweat, and tears, my dream of remodeling Ebony Barbershop has become a reality, Giles said.

The Evanston Community Development Corporation (http://evanstoncdc.org/ ) was established in 2003 as a non-profit community based organization designed to redevelopment of the suburb West Side.

To obtain a loan application, contact Wright at 847-756-0159 or e-mail pwright@evanstoncdc.com.

–Suzanne Cosgrove