ECDI Training Institute

The ECDI Training Institute has extensive training and technical assistance available to help our clients acquire the knowledge and tools they need to succeed.

The institute provides general microenterprise development training courses during which entrepreneurs are given the tools needed to start and successfully manage a business. Our signature microenterprise training programs are designed to assist our clients with receiving Individual Development Accounts (IDA) to acquire assets (home, small business, car, post-secondary education) or a micro-loan for up to $350,000 to start or expand their business. In addition to general microenterprise development training, the Institute offers financial literacy, and other generalized training geared towards specific industries such as food-based, retail, or home-based businesses.


Financial Literacy Training

Proficiency in the basic tenets of finance and budgeting as well as fundamentals of the U.S. banking system is highly advantageous for small business entrepreneurs desiring long-term success. In order to participate in the IDA and Microloan programs, ECDI requires the successful completion of our 6-hour Financial Literacy course. The course is designed to provide clients with a comprehensive view of personal savings, hands-on budgeting and expense tracking. One-on-one language support is also made available from one of our bilingual staff members. Successful completion of the class is contingent upon scoring 80% or higher on the post-test and the creation of a realistic budget.

Small Enterprise Education Development Training Series (S.E.E.D)

The Small Enterprise Education Development Training Series is designed for entrepreneurs who are ready to enhance their business idea or expand their existing small enterprise into a viable and profitable business. Clients taking this course will focus on four critical developmental areas; business concept, organization, customer relations, and operations using the GrowthWheel® concept, an interactive tool that helps entrepreneurs develop their business through an action oriented process. Clients will also complete homework assignments that will assist them in developing a business plan and 30/60/90 day action plan.

*Each class will be three hours each. Classes can be taken sequentially or independently for $30.00. Potential lending clients may be required to take all four classes totaling $150.00.

From Dream to Reality

From Dream to Reality is an interactive workshop for IDA participants who plan to receive a small business grant from ECDI. This class is designed for entrepreneurs who have little or no experience in running a business. Participants will learn how to develop a business and financial plan. Business plan clinics are included in this class offering. Participants will be pared up with an advisor while writing their business plan in the ECDI Fifth Third Learning Lab.

Food Safety-Level One

This course is perfect for food entrepreneurs. It has been approved by the Ohio Department of Health as a Level 1 Certification in Food Protection. This training will provide a practical approach to food safety for managers and other employees in order to achieve on-site and long-term compliance with the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code.

Home-Based Childcare Provider Micro-Enterprise Training

The Home-Based Childcare Provider microenterprise training is part of a collaboration effort between ECDI and Children’s Hunger Alliance (CHA) to fulfill the requirements set forth of the Ohio Refugee Childcare Entrepreneurship Initiative (ORCEI). Participants learn how to develop a start-up business plan for a Type AA home-based childcare.


ECDI offers monthly programming by professional trainers and experts in their respective areas to discuss industry-specific training including marketing, legal, accounting, financial management, healthcare, insurance, human resources, and product development.

L.E.A.N. Fund

The L.E.A.N. Fund is a new program to support female entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their businesses within the Cleveland community. The program will support the livelihood of women who are looking to create health-forward change, which we believe will strengthen our whole community. Because the more impact women have, the better the world becomes. To learn more, visit