The Cambridge Microenterprise Initiative is a non-profit, volunteer organization based at Harvard that aims to provide financial and educational support to small-business owners in area of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The mission of our program is, in a phrase, to help people help themselves. We help local low-income entrepreneurs who cannot get credit from commercial banks secure small loans. We help them plan and execute their own small business ideas so that they can realize their dreams of financial success and independence.
Our program fills the role of a night school for business education. We provide a range of services for our clients throughout a yearlong program:
— Assist clients in getting microcredit loans to help them grow their small businesses.
— Help clients formulate sound business plans
— Hold free regular classes on basic business skills and practices
— Form client peer groups to provide support, new ideas, and potential business partnerships
— Individual client consultation to determine the best strategies to avoid problems and achieve success
Our clients are hardworking people who don’t have the credit history, the collateral, or the expertise to obtain regular commercial loans but have solid ideas for a small business and demonstrate great commitment and enthusiasm for their projects.
Some examples of the types of small businesses started by clients of similar programs are:
— Food carts (ex. street hot-dog stands, fruit stands)
— Homemade clothes for resale to local stores
— At-home daycare business
— Small-scale contract services (cleaning, construction, delivery)
— Small-scale catering service
— Small restaurants
— Office document outsourcing operations