The Hamilton College Microfinance Club
is a group of students and faculty dedicated to promoting economic development in Utica, NY by providing micro-loans. Micro-loans are small loans granted without collateral to those who are unable to access traditional means of financing. The group strongly believes that there are large numbers of people in Utica that possess the determination, work ethic, skills and ideas to create successful businesses but lack the financial capital necessary to transform their dreams into reality.
The organization provides small loans, typically under $5000, to small businesses or individual entrepreneurs - these may be newly established businesses or existing companies struggling due to a lack of capital. To qualify, businesses must be located in the greater Utica area. Financing can be used to purchase basic tools or insurance coverage, such as worker's compensation and liability, which are mandated by the New York state government and often present insurmountable barriers to new businesses. Loans are extended with an interest rate determined by the Club's partner, ACCESS Federal Credit Union. Recipients can create self-sustaining businesses that provide for their owners and can begin employing more individuals from the Utica area.
In the fall of 2009, the Microfinance Club made considerable strides to professionalize its initiative. Club leaders successfully negotiated a partnership with the President/CEO of ACESS Federal Credit Union, in which ACCESS assists the club with the issuance and collection of loans, and provides credit analysis consultation. An advisory board has been implemented to oversee the creation of a strategic business plan, governing structure, fundraising initiatives, candidate identification/evaluation, underwriting, collections, marketing and communication. The organization's first loan issuance was a success, and the Club is currently in the process of reviewing candidates. The Microfinance Club is affiliated with the Sustainability Program of the Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center.
The Microfinance Club is always interested in new and inventive ideas regarding the perpetuation of its initiative. If you would like to offer guidance or are interested in obtaining more information about the Club, please contact: