BUILD Institute and Honeycomb Credit have partnered in an effort to bring another lending product to Detroit small business owners. The mission of their partnership has been to ensure that mainstreet businesses are thriving through buy/local, shop/local now to include borrow/local, invest/local endeavours.
Based out of Pittsburgh, Honeycomb Credit is an investment crowdfunding platform that connects small businesses looking for expansion loans up to $100,000 with community members who want to invest locally. Their partnership with BUILD Institute, a Detroit innovation hub that provides services to small business owners including a wide range of business courses, business loans and more, has proven to be an efficacious avenue to connect Honeycomb Credit to the Detroit small business community. Since their founding in 2012, BUILD Institute business classes have reached almost 2,000 graduates from every zip code in Wayne County. BUILD Institute’s lending program, Kiva Detroit, has issued over $810,000 in 0% interest loans to over 175 Detroit borrowers. Like Honeycomb Credit, Kiva is a community capital program that crowdfunds business loans on an online platform.
The partnership was formally announced on September 15th, 2019, at a co-hosted Happy Hour on celebrating Detroit community capital programs, at which ecosystem partners and leaders, local small business owners and prospective borrowers were in attendance. Before the end of September, Honeycomb Credit’s Detroit presence has proven to be one of their most successful regional expansions, in terms of engagement and successfully launched and fundraised Detroit loans. “Within such a short time we have successfully funded our first Detroit campaign, KBI Auto,” said Dora Rankin, the Honeycomb Credit City Manager in Cleveland. While they seek a Detroit City Manager, Dora has been working with local small business owners. Dora went on to say, “Detroit has loyal roots and is willing and able to support their small businesses. We see the tides of great success around the corner, Detroit just gets it!”
BUILD Institute has been able to provide Honeycomb Credit a venue for several co-hosted events in 2019, all of which, providing opportunities for Detroit small business owners to learn more about their lending platform. The entrepreneur connections that Honeycomb Credit has been able to foster into lending campaigns have precipitated as a result of direct referrals from BUILD Institute as well as networking engagement at co-hosted events.
One of those entrepreneurs that BUILD Institute connected to Honeycomb Credit was Philip Knight, who owns and operates KBI Auto, an auto repair shop operating in Detroit since 1998. On September 15th, 2019, Honeycomb Credit launched Phil’s fundraising campaign as part of the Community Capital Happy Hour on September 15th. By the end of that campaign on November 5th, Phil had successfully raised $11,976.48 on their platform. With the capital, Phil has been able to invest in shop repairs, new offices and new equipment, including a car lift.
Philip’s relationship with BUILD Institute goes back to 2016. He had previously funded two Kiva loans through Kiva Detroit, in 2016 and 2018. Those two loans, totalling $16,000, enabled Phil to invest in needed new equipment and shop maintenance. “The 0 percent interest and support from Kiva made all the difference,” Phil said of his Kiva experiences.
Since expanding to Detroit, Honeycomb Credit has been welcomed into the entrepreneur ecosystem and is really excited to participate in cohorts like Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Business lenders panel “Being Bankable” module in 2020.
As of January 2020, Honeycomb Credit has launched 43 campaigns for small business owners with over $1M in local investments deployed across the platform. Honeycomb Credit is licensed to operate in all 50 states with a focus on four core markets: Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Since 2017, they’ve expanded to concentrate on several U.S cities and have City Managers actively working with small businesses in Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Moving forward BUILD Institute and Honeycomb Credit intend to continue and strengthen a well rounded partnership. In 2020 BUILD Institute will provide in house space for the Detroit Honeycomb Credit City Manager, creating more opportunity for Detroit small business owners to engage one on one. They also plan to co-host a wider variety of informational and interactive events with more frequency. Given the enthusiastic response Detroit has had to their presence, Honeycomb Credit’s goal in 2020 is to broaden their investor network to support as many small businesses to successfully fund their growth projects and create super fans along the way. Remarking on this goal, Dora said, “Invest in your favorite Main Street business instead of Wall Street. Help us make a meaningful impact.”
About BUILD Institute:
BUILD Institute serves as an incubator of small businesses and a champion of native Detroit talent, where we harness and encourage the entrepreneurial drive that is so unique to the region, and provide tools, resources and support for small business development that would not exist otherwise. BUILD Institute helps turn unique and in-demand business ideas into reality, with a particular focus on micro entrepreneurship and “Main Street” brick and mortar small businesses. To learn more, visit www.buildinstitute.org.
About Honeycomb Credit
Honeycomb Credit is a Pittsburgh-based crowdfunding website that connects small businesses looking for expansion loans with community members looking to invest local. By allowing anyone to invest in their own local economy, Honeycomb Credit aims to unlock growth opportunities for small businesses to build vibrant, financially empowered communities. Honeycomb operates in Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan and Ohio. Businesses can borrow up to $100,000 for expansion purposes, and community members can start investing for as little as $100. More at www.honeycombcredit.com.