The Invest Local Ohio program is not currently open to investment. Sign up to receive notice when more information becomes available.

Invest Local Ohio

A better way to invest

Support local small business, with a guaranteed return

The Invest Local Ohio (ILO) program provides community members the opportunity to make a smart investment while directly supporting the visions of innovative, hardworking entrepreneurs. Your investment provides funding for loans to startup and existing businesses in a variety of industries. Every dollar invested in ILO supports small businesses, right here in Ohio.

From restaurants and hair salons, to transportation and yoga, ECDI-funded small
businesses play an integral role in creating sustainable, vibrant communities.

View frequently asked questions.


Frequently Asked Questions

What return can I expect from my investment in ILO?

ECDI investors will receive a 2% return on their investment if they sign a three-year note, and a 3% return on a five-year note.

How are ILO funds distributed to businesses?

ILO is one of many funds we use to create a loan package to best meet a business’ needs, considering the loan amount, the intended purpose of the loan and other circumstances. Each ILO dollar is leveraged with two or more dollars from other ECDI loan funds, to assure maximum benefit to the small business.

What kinds of small businesses are eligible for an ILO loan?

While there’s no specific rule that details which businesses are eligible, ECDI’s mission, and therefore our guideline for supporting any entrepreneur, is to serve those who are under-served by traditional lending sources. Most often, under-served groups include Black people and other minority communities, women, refugees and immigrants, and entrepreneurs who live in economically disadvantaged areas. People in certain industries, such as restaurants, salons, day cares and other typical Main Street small businesses, also have trouble gaining access to loan capital. Loan applications must be approved by our external loan review committee, which consists of bankers, local entrepreneurs and other professionals in the community.


Is there a cap on the number of businesses that can receive ILO funds?

There is no set cap. ILO is a rotating fund, so as businesses repay loans, the dollars go back into the pool and can be re-loaned to other entrepreneurs. We’ll continue to disburse capital as long as we have funding available. Since 2004, ECDI has disbursed over $63.7 million through more than 2,800 loans.

How does the program benefit small businesses?

Through ILO, entrepreneurs can access loan funds, even when they are unable to receive funding anywhere else. They receive needed support throughout their entrepreneurial journey through our innovative incubation services, including the Women’s Business Centers of Ohio and the Food Fort, where entrepreneurs can access business infrastructure, training, one-on-one coaching, and more.

How does the program benefit investors?

ILO benefits investors in three ways. First, you receive a guaranteed 2-3% return on your investment. Second, you can feel good about your choice because every dollar you invest will be lent and relent to local entrepreneurs, rather than drained out of Ohio’s economy. Since 2004, ECDI-funded companies have contributed more than 9,000 jobs to our local economy. Third, with regular updates about the businesses that are benefiting from the fund, you, as an investor, can choose to shop at the stores and eat at the restaurants supported by ILO.

What are your fundraising goals for the program?

Our initial securities offering is for $1M. We hope to raise $5M in new capital over the next 3 years.


How will you leverage investments?

ECDI currently manages more than 30 distinct loan funds. We leverage ILO dollars with funds from banks, private foundations, and government grants, maximizing the impact of each ILO investment. Our commitment to our investors is that every dollar that is
loaned from the Invest Local Ohio Fund will be paired with at least two more dollars from other loan funds.

Is there a minimum investment?

The minimum investment to receive the guaranteed return is $1,000. If you don’t have $1,000 to invest, you can make a donation to the fund. Every dollar you  donate will be lent to a local entrepreneur.


How and how often will investors receive updates?

Investors will receive updates via ECDI’s quarterly e-newsletter, and through our annual report which features in-depth portfolio performance by sector. ECDI regularly features stories and news from our small business clients on our website and social media.

ECDI strongly encourages potential investors to carefully read and consider the investment’s prospectus before investing and should inform them that the prospectus contains important information such as the investment’s objectives, risk factors, fees and expenses. The ECDI investment prospectus is available upon request to all potential investors.

The Invest Local Ohio program is not currently open to investment. Sign up to receive notice when more information becomes available.


Support Small Businesses Today

ECDI is one of the top U.S. SBA intermediary microlenders with a mission to invest in people to create measurable and enduring social and economic change. ECDI provides responsible, affordable lending and comprehensive small business development services to help underbanked people and communities join the economic mainstream. ECDI’s target population includes low-moderate income individuals, minorities, women, immigrants, and refugees, and those otherwise precluded from funding from a traditional financial institution.

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