Solay Bistro flourishes with ECDI’s help

ECDI Spotlight — By on November 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

Create a job a day, a business a week. This isn’t another slogan. It is a track record –proven over eight years– of one local non-profit.

The Economic and Community Development Institute has created or assisted in maintaining a job a day and a business a week since its creation. Columbus is the birthplace of many big names in business. The Central Ohio area has been an incubator for many legacy brands that have become international leaders.

For many of the same reasons that make our city a perfect home base for the big players, it is also an ideal place to start and grow small businesses. Because of the talent and entrepreneurial drive of our citizens, Columbus is never short on demand for capital to move these ideas from dreams to sustained and successful contributions to the local economy.

Nadira Abdiraminam came to the United States from Somalia in 1998. She knew the American dream for her would be achieved through owning her own business. For years, her vision was to bring healthy eating options with Northern African flair to young people near The Ohio State University.

She started a small café near campus. A year after she opened, Abdiraminam came to ECDI. Through our programs, she was able to receive the capitalization and one-on-one assistance she needed to expand her business.

Solay Bistro is arguably one the best ethnic food eateries in Columbus. The restaurant has been featured in many local publications, is a staple of Columbus Food Adventures, and was even mentioned in a USA Today article about great eats in Columbus.

The influence of her business goes beyond her employees and customers.

Many of her ingredients are locally sourced. This adds value to the local economy in a way eating at a chain restaurant cannot. The growth of Abdiraminam’s business created eight jobs. Without a loan from ECDI, her business could not have scaled up and created those opportunities.

In 2004, Inna Kinney, herself the product of a small-business-founding first-generation-immigrant family, realized that there was a missing link between ideas like Abdiraminam’s and the funds needed to get them off the ground. She decided that a non-profit microlender could fill this void and generate tools to aid budding businesses that included budgeting, marketing, advise, planning and workplace strategies.

Now, ECDI is recognized as the seventh largest social enterprise microlending firm in the country.

With ECDI’s commitment to nurture people, families and the community through entrepreneurship, financial education, and mentoring, are turning dreams into realities for many people in Central Ohio. Job creation and business development are hot topics in light of the current economic situation.

Meanwhile, they have been at the core of ECDI’s mission since the beginning. Through its access to capital programs, such as business lending and grants, ECDI has helped start more than 2,000 businesses and create and retain more than 4,000 jobs in Central Ohio.

In recognition of the sky rocketing demand for ECDI Loans, we knew we needed to explore new funding sources. Invest Local Ohio was born. Now, anyone can invest in Local Small Business. You can donate any amount or make an investment of $1,000 or more to earn a return of 2 to 3 percent based on the length of the note.

Why put your money in a savings account at a huge bank that generates wealth for the 1 percent when you can invest in local business and your dollars work three times as hard? EDCI leverages every dollar with at least two more dollars from other funds.

Columbus is a vibrant and innovative town filled with creative and passionate people. When ECDI is able to match those talents and ideas with the tools needed to develop and nurture them, something rare and exceptional occurs.

When we build small businesses, we develop a sustainable local economy that is insulated from exterior economic woes. Local dollars that are spent and reinvested in Columbus businesses are three times as impactful as money spent in national chains and businesses with headquarters elsewhere.

Whether you need a loan to get your own great idea up and running, or you are ready to invest, check out ECDI.org for more information.

Author Bio: Douglas Craven:
Douglas joined the Economic and Community Development Institute team in April 2012. In his role as Development/Outside Relationship Manager, Douglas works with the President and CEO regarding ECDI’s development strategy, including managing relations, community engagement, and fundraising. Originally from New Jersey, Douglas relocated to Columbus for Masters and Doctoral Programs at The Ohio State University. He can be contacted via email at dcraven@ecdi.org or by phone at 614-732-0572.

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