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MANSFIELD – North End Community Improvement Collaborative, Inc. (NECIC), through a grant from the Ohio CDC Association and with the support of area community partners, will launch a microloan program to support entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“We’ve received funding to provide training, technical assistance, and microloans to small startup organizations,” said NECIC Executive Director Deanna West-Torrence. Loans may range up to $1,000, and poor credit may not be a barrier, she added. In fact, the program’s goal is to assist potential low-income and minority small business owners in exploring the concepts of entrepreneurship, to determine if entrepreneurship is a pathway out of poverty.

“You can use the money for equipment, supplies, and a wide variety of things,” said West-Torrence.

To qualify for the loans, aspiring entrepreneurs must complete the Business Plan Writing Course, she noted. The classes will be taught by Jim Stoner, Certified Business Advisor and will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at NECIC, 134 N Main St, Mansfield Ohio, 44902.

The first class will be Jan. 31 and graduation will be Feb. 28.

In the classes offered, business owners and entrepreneurs will learn to write a business plan as well as a customer profile, a marketing plan, a financial plan, and much more. The course will be repeated throughout the year, so participants can sign up to attend in other months if they cannot attend the February session.

An independent board will oversee the loans, she added.

Interested parties should contact Edward Akinyemi at 419-522-1611, extension 127, or email

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