Borrower Story: Prospect Cleaning Service in NYC

Borrower Story: Prospect Cleaning Service in NYC

Borrower Stories, CDFIs, CNote
Community lending - Helping small businesses grow Running a small business is a huge challenge. Even with the best laid business plan and capital to spare, if you want to follow the long road to success you are going to need some help. Be it financial planning or access to skilled employees, a small business’ ability to leverage this help is critical to surviving and growing. We spent time with Prospect Cleaning Service to learn more about their experience working with the Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF), one of CNote’s CDFI partners. EGF worked with Propsect's owner, Ingrid Murray, to help her get her business positioned for sustained growth and financial success. Her story illustrates that CDFIs do a lot more than just cut a check for borrowers--they invest in their long-term success. …
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Small Biz Story: MAFIA Bags, a small business with big ideas about sustainable design

Small Biz Story: MAFIA Bags, a small business with big ideas about sustainable design

Small Businesses
MAFIA Bags is more than just a series of stylish, functional, and sturdy bags, totes, backpacks and accessories. It is a company which represents community and cohesiveness around two inspirational goals. To give new life to materials and to transform the way we do business. Started in 2012 by brother and sister Marcos and Paz Mafia, MAFIA Bags began with an idea to upcycle used sails into backpacks. Their idea originated from the need for a durable backpack to carry their wetsuits while traveling to surfing locations around the world. And since day one, as they have perfected the design, MAFIA Bags has also fostered the tradition of community by bringing on friends and employing locally to scale the business. Even as the business has expanded from their hometown in…
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Borrower Story: Roberto’s Winds & Michiko Studios in NYC

Borrower Story: Roberto’s Winds & Michiko Studios in NYC

Borrower Stories
Finding the space to create While New York City is overflowing with artists and creatives, one thing the city is always short on is space. This is especially true for musicians who need rehearsal spaces that are both affordable and acoustically sound. That’s where Roberto Romeo (pictured) saw a tremendous opportunity to expand his small business and support the community of local musicians. As the owner of Roberto’s Winds for more than a decade, Roberto had established a reputation as the premier retailer of woodwinds in New York City. With a showroom and shop known internationally, musicians travel from abroad to purchase instruments and accessories from Roberto, to view his high-end saxophone collection, and to hear his stories after 35 years in the the New York music business. Getting the…
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Redesigning Finance in Detroit

Redesigning Finance in Detroit

CNote
An hour before my hotel alarm goes off, I’m thrown awake by a chorus of hammers, trucks and drills from the construction outside. Where am I? Right, Detroit. The city of a legendary decline and an even more legendary revival. I've heard enough "dark" stories to shape my groggy and not so pleasant image of this city - but it's an image that will be shattered in just a few days. About a month ago, CNote was invited to participate in the FinTech program sponsored by Village Capital and Paypal. The program focuses on supporting entrepreneurs creating innovative financial solutions for underserved communities and small businesses. It is in a perfect alignment with CNote and I was  excited for the opportunity to learn from other companies sharing a common mission…
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Borrower Story: Meet Fany Gerson with La Newyorkina

Borrower Story: Meet Fany Gerson with La Newyorkina

Borrower Stories, CDFIs
La Newyorkina is a fan favorite in New York City. Found at kiosks, carts, and coffee shops in the East Village and a retail store out of Brooklyn, its authentic, tasty frozen treats and sweets from Mexico are a special treat in the heat of NYC summer. After making tens of thousands of satisfied customers happy, La Newyorkina was ready to bring their goodies to even more people and expand into other parts of the city. And then Hurricane Sandy happened. The expansion was stalled indefinitely. Fany Gerson, the founder of La Newyorkina, did not give up. She continued with her plans for growth and was even preparing to ramp up the business for the next season. But she needed capital and needed it quickly. “If we had to wait…
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