Turn a dream into a job with a small business loan

Ever had a great idea you thought would make a good business? Sure, we all have. But then reality sets in - how to make it happen. Taking that great idea from the kitchen table to assembly is daunting. And the first big hurdle is getting the cash to get it off the ground. 

Meet Keitra Bates. She shows off boarded up store front and she couldn't be prouder.

"This used to be a really vibrant black neighborhood," she said of Ashview Heights.

After years of decline, this west side community is on its way to a comeback. Millennials are moving in, and Keitra Bates wants to be part of it.

She bought this space and is opening a community kitchen called Marddy's Shared Kitchen and Marketplace - a blend of market and buddy.   But it's also a way to blend the older folks in the community with those just moving in.

"We have a lady who makes kale salad dressing," Ms. Bates said of a community member who sells her veggie sauce out of her car.

And there's the "sweet potato pie lady" who may eventually get priced out because things are changing in this neighborhood.

Keitra's kitchen wants to be  "a place for home cooks to prepare and sell their offerings" because these budgeted, neighborhood businesses run the risk of getting priced out.

Across town in Grant Park Sandy Headley told us, "entrepreneurs have a lot of passion."

And Ms. Headley's group has money.  ACE, or Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, provides money to small start-ups just like Marddy's Kitchen.

"Everybody has an idea," she said. "Then you get to different states of it. Is it marketable? Is it sustainable? It is a fad? Every entrepreneur knows their product and how to sell it, but they aren't always the best finance people."

Since 2000, ACE has loaned $37 million dollars to 725 metro businesses. Folks, that's more than 6,000 jobs.

But ACE doesn't do it alone. Like most things successful, they have great partnerships.

Antoinette Ball is the co-founder at Women's Entrepreneurial Opportunity Project.  She helps women tap into ideas then mentors her through it.

"Say you've been downsized, what have you been doing in corporate America that you could possibly go to and package as an independent contractor or a consultant?  What have you been doing working from home? Facilities management. Managing kids. Event planning. What skills are transferrable?"

This kind of assistance, like loans from ACE and mentoring through the women's project, is how Keitra is taking her kitchen table dream into her own shared kitchen business.

"When the business is shaky, they will actually come in and help you get it back on track, she told me.

So, listen, do you think you have a great idea? Maybe it's time to talk to somebody about.

ACE's Sandy Headley reminded us, "I always say come to us and talk to us. Don't think that you don't have a chance.

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