Describe your nonprofit’s mission.
CIC’s mission is to strengthen our community and contribute to economic development by fueling the success of under-resourced entrepreneurs through education, mentoring, micro-lending and networking.

Our program includes:

-A 16 week entrepreneur workshop for new and existing business owners
-Extensive mentoring, peer discussions and ongoing support
-Microloans of up to $35,000 for new and existing business owners
-Networking opportunities within and across the community

What need in our community brought about the creation of your nonprofit?
There are systemic and cultural barriers to entrepreneurship in our minority and low-income populations. Those barriers include access to financing, in-depth educational opportunities and access to networks for ongoing support.

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District of Virginia is home to 27,528 business establishments. 97%, or 26,707 of these business establishments are small and micro sized. Micro and small enterprises (MSEs), defined as businesses with less than 5 employees and under $35,000 in startup costs, have small capital requirements, and yet there are limited appropriate financing options, often requiring higher credit scores for such needs. Often, aspiring and existing business owners require technical assistance just to complete the loan application, and many entrepreneurs require advisory support throughout the entrepreneurial path.

How has your nonprofit made a difference in our community?
Every $1 invested in CIC has returned to the community $3.48 in wages from new jobs created.

-196 entrepreneurs graduated from our Entrepreneur Training Workshop as of December 2016.
-50 new businesses launched and 33 businesses under development
-74 existing businesses sustained or expanded their operations
-CIC businesses have created 78 FTE jobs
-30 businesses acquired financing through CIC micro-loans totaling $185,604

How can community members help you achieve your mission?
Growing and connecting networks throughout the community is the heart of CIC. Join our network and help us connect to others! Here is how:

1) Support our entrepreneurs by patronizing their businesses. View our directory:

2) Join us at one of our events: our entrepreneur showcases at Tom Tom or Whole Foods Market, one of our graduations or any number of others. Meet, engage, and give feedback to entrepreneurs as they develop their businesses.

3) Volunteer: share your expertise through leading a discussion, mentoring or being a resource for entrepreneurs.

4) Refer: know someone who could use our services? Introduce us!

5) Donate: help us do more by making a contribution.

Tell us a story that has come out of your work.
Every entrepreneur has a story. Here are a few from our work:

Sara Clayborne and Charlottesville Ballet used our 16 week entrepreneur workshop to develop a better business model to help them grow their business as it moved into Albemarle County in 2013. They now run dance classes for over 500 kids and adults per year.

DeVaughn Anderson of All About Car Audio won a pitch competition at the Chamber Diversity Business Council to get a spot on our program. During our workshop and as he approached opening his business, he was selected to pitch in the Tom Tom Founders Festival community pitch competition. While he didn’t win this time, he was approached by an investor who helped him get his business off the ground.

Tony Polanco, also known as “Chef Tony,” had previously owned a restaurant before that did not work out. After taking a break, he started a small catering business that was just him at first. CIC’s workshop and mentoring services helped him get a better handle on finances and marketing and planning. Now he has a dozen employees and ready to help you be treated like a guest at your own party!

Check out our web site for profiles and more stories of our clients!

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Meet Your Nonprofit is a special feature brought to you in partnership with Center for Nonprofit Excellence.

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