"Sometimes when you go to a bank, you feel like you are a number." recounts Dr. P., a medical doctor from the Dominican Republic who has lived in the US for more than 40 years. His story was very similar to many we had heard from previous local business owners. "I was denied a loan for my business. Now, I try to grow without their help."
His story is important because it showed us the role that a small community organization can play in the larger ecosystem of economic development.
"Tell Daniel that if Barrio is involved in the loans, you can count me in!"
Barrio's capital is the trust we have built with community members and we recognized that we could help connect resources with people who have been serving or are looking to serve our community.
In 2021, Barrio was commissioned to conduct a Feasibility Study to investigate community appetite and local capacity for a Lending Circle program in Reading. You can read it below:
In their own words
While she was out interviewing businesses for this report, Fabiola Flores, our microlending coordinator, collected anecdotes and stories that had to be saved for future publications. Below are some quotes from some of the businesses that were interviewed.
"I will not step foot in another bank. I went to one and was denied a loan and I wont go back again."
"I've always paid for everything on my own. It would be unreal to have a business loan in my name."
Micro business owner
"I always thought that having a legitimate business was for other people, not for me."