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Economic & Community Development Institute (ECDI)

economic and community development institute Columbus Ohio cleveland akron canton portsmouth cincinnati toledo treasury loan financial small-business

Who We Are: ECDI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit economic development organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio with offices in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Portsmouth, and Cincinnati; and field operations in Toledo. ECDI is also a certified Community Development Corporation (CDC) and a U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). ECDI's mission is to invest in people to create measurable and enduring social and economic change. ECDI provides underserved and underbanked entrepreneurs with access to loan capital ranging from $750 to $500,000, filling a gap in the micro and small business loan industry, and small business development services including technical assistance, training, and incubation programs.

What We Do: ECDI combines access to capital with wrap-around small business and financial development technical assistance and training services through their Business Innovation Center, which houses our four Women’s Business Centers, Capital for Construction program, Food Fort, and Social Enterprise Hub. This one-stop-shop model helps underserved entrepreneurs access the tools and resources they need to responsibly start or grow small businesses. Since 2004, ECDI has provided small business owners with $91.6 million in startup or expansion capital, disbursed 3,900 small business loans, served over 27,000 individuals, and created or retained 13,000 jobs in the state of Ohio.

Why We’re Important: ECDI works with all entrepreneurs, but we focus our efforts on supporting underserved entrepreneurs, including those with low-moderate-income, women, people of color, and immigrants and refugees. Starting and maintaining a business is difficult for any entrepreneur, with 50% failing within the first five years, but systemic barriers that these populations face make it even more difficult to access the capital, markets, and industry networks necessary for small business success. ECDI’s combination of specialty loan products, incubation space, and intensive training services helps these underserved entrepreneurs overcome said barriers to launch and build thriving businesses.

How We Impact the Community: The economic impact of ECDI’s microlending to small businesses owners does not end with the initial capital infusion. The small businesses that ECDI funds hire employees, buy supplies, and contract out work to other businesses—creating a profound ripple effect on the local economy that strengthens historically marginalized communities and transforms lives. A 2018 study of ECDI clients, made possible by a grant from MasterCard Foundation, revealed the breadth of the economic impact of ECDI lending. The study found that the impact on the Ohio economy through ECDI clients comfortably exceeds $1 billion annually.

How You Can Help:

  • Donate: Help ECDI fight for economic justice. Your donations help fund our numerous business development and financial literacy programs providing an opportunity for all entrepreneurs to make their dream a reality.

  • Invest: ECDI developed the Invest Local Ohio program, which provides the opportunity to invest in small businesses in your community.

  • Volunteer: ECDI runs a Professional Advisor Network, matching professionals with clients in need of coaching in the volunteer’s expert area. The PAN program is run out of the Women’s Business Centers located in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.

Connect with Economic & Community Development Institute, (ECDI)

1655 Old Leonard Ave.

Columbus, OH 43219


Executive Director: Inna Kinney

Development Director: Anna Parlet

Board Chair: Darren Cherry


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