At Build Institute, we break barriers and provide self-empowerment by fostering confidence, validating ideas and preparing entrepreneurs to launch their ideas.
With over 1500 graduates, more than 500 businesses, and nearly 1000 jobs created, we are dedicated to making Detroit the leader in equitable entrepreneurship.
Core to our mission is keeping our programs accessible to everyone. With your help, we can continue to provide affordable education and support to both aspiring and established entrepreneurs. Help us impact more people who dream of owning their own business and support us in uplifting neighborhood enterprises.
The need for financial literacy is clear in both our personal lives and in business, but perhaps the highest stakes for personal financial adeptness is in micro-business. Build Institute defines a micro-business as a small company, usually made up of less than five employees. These ultra-small operations often rely on one or two key individuals to make decisions that affect every aspect of the business.
With that, micro-business entrepreneurs have to know their business and it’s financials inside and out. Unfortunately, too many of them are operating with poor or incomplete numbers, or even worse — operating in the dark.
It sounds incredible, but it is common for business owners to rely on an external bookkeeper or accounting professional during tax season, while lacking a personal understanding of the business’s financial health. Until a company is large enough to hire a chief financial officer, the owners should assume that role to the fullest.
Once an entrepreneur understands the finances as well as an accounting professional, the right time to inject working capital into the operation will become clear. Sometimes that cushion is needed when sales are taking off and there just isn’t enough inventory or staff to meet demand. Other times unexpected or unfortunate events (which are part of the process) may decrease sales, require costly legal help, or can otherwise rain on your money-making parade.
Regardless of the reason for a cushion, a business owner that’s comfortable diving into financial statements, unit economics, and projections will be prepared to make the difficult financial decisions that drive their business forward.
When the time comes to inject cash, entrepreneurs should consider all of their options. For some micro-business owners, Kiva is a great place to start. Kiva offers crowdfunded micro-loans of up to $10k with 0% interest, no fees, and reasonable repayment terms. The process for applying and borrowing through Kiva is far less complicated than dealing with traditional means of financing and the often prohibitive requirements that leave so many small businesses to fend for themselves.
Regardless if Kiva is the right fit for your business, the point is that micro-business entrepreneurs must be financially adept. They must know the health of their business in order to know when outside help is needed. When it is time for help, they have to evaluate every opportunity against the reality within their operation. The future of the business depends on it!
We’re delighted to announce that after four years of exciting growth and inspiring impact in and around Detroit, Kiva Zip is graduating out of beta! This means that our Kiva Zip loans will be moving to the main Kiva.org website. MergingKiva Zip into the main Kiva website will make it possible for us to expand Kiva’s impact in communities across metro Detroit, while continuing to grow our international network of borrowers and lenders.
There are several reasons for this change, but mainly, it is to streamline the application process. Currently Kiva Zip lenders have separate Kiva Zip and Kiva.org accounts. This can create confusion and hassle for these lenders. When Kiva Zip loans move to Kiva.org, accounts will be combined into one, and Kiva lenders will be able to seamlessly support entrepreneurs across the street, or the other side of the planet.
Additionally, one of the most dynamic aspects of Kiva is the 38,000 lending teams that allow lenders with shared interests to come together in support of Kiva’s community of entrepreneurs. To date, lenders have not been able to associate their Kiva Zip loans with lending teams, but after we merge this will become possible. We expect to see a surge of local lending teams develop among lenders who are excited about creating economic opportunities in and around Detroit.
If you are interested in learning more, contact the Kiva Detroit small business advisor, Razi Jafri, at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Kiva Detroit on our website for more information.
“Seeking community-based investment is exciting. With the right team in place, it can be relatively user-friendly and easy to understand, but it still involves asking people to take real financial risk with you. There will be some serious issues to address and information to provide.
You’re an entrepreneur, so you’re probably a doer and you like to get things moving, but it’s important to make sure you’re prepared before you start looking to the community for investment. Want to know if you’re ready? Start by answering these questions..”
“Even though I had long preferred my local coffee shop to Starbucks, I hadn’t heard the term “localist” before encountering BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), a network of people dedicated to “restoring community through local businesses.” I attended their conference in Phoenix this year, where I had the opportunity to learn about the localist movement and listen to presentations by founders of pioneering social entrepreneurial companies like Community Sourced Capital and Dankso. I met community organizers focused on local food systems and economic empowerment and chatted with small business owners that understand they are a part of a social movement beyond the doors of their brick and mortar stores.
Here are three insights from the BALLE conference that individuals can use to become part of the localist movement in a holistic and meaningful way:”