Ottawa Business Journal | Non-profit lender helps disadvantaged ‘rise’ to entrepreneurship challenges
A Toronto-based non-profit that provides loans to entrepreneurs who are coping with a mental illness or addiction challenges is expanding to Ottawa at the Causeway Work Centre.
By Kane Van Ee
Rise Asset Development helps individuals with minimal savings or an inadequate credit history to obtain traditional financing by offering loans of up to $25,000 as well as guidance to help launch and grow their business.
Naomi Muise was the first lendee in Ottawa and is now the owner of CeleeakNak, a gluten-free catering company that began out of her home. She had struggled to finance the costs associated with starting a business and was unable to increase production solely through her income that came from working in nightclubs.
Rise provided her with a $5,000 loan that was used to purchase professional baking equipment. With the added production capacity, Ms. Muise was able to start selling her products in four major organic retail stores in Ottawa.
“I was suddenly able to get out there to sell at a volume and a profit,” said Ms. Muise.
The social financing concept behind Rise was forged in 2009 by Sandra Rotman, with the support of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management (named in honour of her husband) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The organization was officially founded in Toronto two years ago.
Rise’s next step is to expand its operation throughout Ontario with two new initiatives. One is a group lending program for transitional homes, community housing and peer support groups, while the other assists youth in preparing business plans.
See the article here.