Mission & Vision
The Economic and Community Development Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit economic development organization located in Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to invest in people to create measurable and enduring social and economic change. Since its inception in 2004, the Institute's programs and services have grown into a comprehensive suite of programming designed to lead low-income Ohioans out of poverty. Program participants are given the training, tools, and assistance they need to earn living wage incomes in the short term and purchase and maintain assets for the future. The Institute provides foundational financial literacy training, innovative microenterprise development training and capitalization programs, business incubation services that provide clients access markets, educational access grants, down payment assistance to first time homebuyers and home repair programs for senior citizens and disabled individuals. These programs and services have been proven to create jobs, increase access to assets, and spur local economic development.
As the only U.S. Small Business Administration intermediary microlender serving all counties in Ohio and U.S. Treasury designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) microlending organization in Central Ohio, as well as the microlender for Franklin County and the City of Columbus, the Economic and Community Development Institute addresses the needs of very small business owners in the creation and expansion of microenterprises. The Institute fills a gap in the credit industry by offering loans ranging from $500 to $150,000 to underserved entrepreneurs through its revolving microloan fund program. Its programs provide valuable services to microentrepreneurs, including culturally and linguistically appropriate financial literacy and microenterprise training, one-on-one technical assistance, and industry specific training and access to markets through its new Growing Entrepreneurs Initiative business incubation program. Eligible, low-income working entrepreneurs may also receive grants for business capitalization through the Microenterprise Development Individual Development Account (MED IDA) program. The Institute's services are targeted toward unbanked or underbanked populations, including low-income individuals, those with little or no credit, those precluded from paying interest because of religious beliefs, and those who are unable to receive a loan from a traditional financial institution.
In addition to its small business development programming, the Institute's Individual Development Account (IDA) program provides matched grants for downpayment assistance for first-time homeowners and tuition assistance for college students. We also help low-income senior citizens and disabled individuals by providing grants to make minor home repairs related to safety and accessibility.
Since inception, the Economic and Community Development Institute's programs have been supported by over $25 million in federal, state, local and private funds. The Institute is a veteran economic development organization whose core programs provide training, technical assistance, and capitalization for entrepreneurs.
 Defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration as “a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability corporation or corporation that has fewer than 5 employees, including the owner, and generally lacks access to conventional loans, equity, or other banking services.