The new year has brought many exciting changes to LEND. As of June 2013, LEND has begun the process of incorporating as an independent, tax-exempt 501(c)3 non-profit entity. Incorporation will bring significant changes, all of which will help us better serve Evanston entrepreneurs - allowing us more avenues to grow our capital base. Not only will we be able to make more loans, but we will have more flexibility as we begin to institutionalize. Our broader goal is to expand our operations into areas of Evanston that we have not targeted in the past and bring about a more consistent operational cycle throughout the year.
LEND has also welcomed a brand new executive team along with 6 new staff members. The team has been hard at work to further the efforts of the graduating senior class. Extensive outreach work by the team has yielded an at-capacity business training program as well as new partnerships in the Evanston community. Lending operations have also seen an uptick this quarter as applications for our loans have continued to rise.
This year brings about many exciting opportunities and challenges for LEND. We ask you for your continued support in helping us achieve our mission of empowering entrepreneurs and driving economic growth.
Before she moved to Evanston this past fall, Victoria Adams performed in shows and gave private voice lessons to more than 35 students in Las Vegas. Several factors, including the economy, prompted her to relocate with her 11-year-old son.
“I’m pretty much starting from scratch here,” Adams said. “But I have experience.”
Since the move, Adams has worked a variety of jobs including a waitressing gig at Walker Brothers. Recently, however, she’s been itching to pick up her passion again.
LEND team members Sabrina Kaplan and Hans Mueller-Schrader are helping Adams capitalize on her vast background in vocal performance. They hope to help her find a venue to teach students in, as well as design a simple website for the business.
“There’s a lot more out here in Chicago," Adams said. "It’s much more cultural musically, and that's inspiring.”
Vivian Killebrew is the owner and operator of the consignment store Stepping Out on Faith, located on Orrington Ave right in the middle of downtown Evanston. The shop sells new or gently used high-end clothes and accessories for men and women at an affordable price. Stepping Out on Faith has a loyal customer base, but Vivian is looking to further expand her visibility in Evanston. Vashnav Pandey and Caroline Miller just started working on a business training engagement with Vivian, focusing on bookkeeping practices and expanding the store's marketing to draw in new customers.
Over the past several months we have looked deeply into our business training program to better understand the impact we have in the community. We have developed a LEND impact meter, based on metrics relevant to the specific areas covered in each training, in order to identify how much of a difference each engagement has made as well as what aspects of the program can be improved. Our goal is to use this data to provide more effective training to our clients and improve our internal processes in the pursuit of better serving the Evanston community.
The past year has been one for the record books. We’ve supported local businesses through five new loans totaling $7,600, and provided business development services to four aspiring entrepreneurs. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but there's potential to do so much more. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation on how we can work together.