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Count Me In -
  
Micro Lending
Count Me In - Micro Lending


Count Me In-Micro Lending champions the cause for women's
economic independence by providing access to business loans,
consultation and education. The first online micro lender, Count Me In
uses a unique women-friendly credit scoring system to make loans of
$500 to $10,000 available to women across the United States who
have nowhere to turn for that all-important first business loan. The
organization provides access to networks that expand contacts,
markets, skills and confidence

Why Count Me In?

Count Me In is impartial, independent and understands the
challenges facing women today.

Consider the facts:

Women-owned businesses employ approximately 27 million people

Women own 38% of all businesses in the United States -- that is 9.1
million businesses *

Women business owners contribute more than $3.6 trillion to the
marketplace each year, and

Women account for more than 70% of consumer spending *

55% of women provide half or more of their household's income,
yet 48 million women -- that is 80% of all women in the workforce --
earn less than $25,000 a year
(Facts from "The National Foundation for Women Business Owners")

And scant options:

Women continue to have less access to financing for their
businesses than male business owners, and women business
owners of color face even greater difficulties in gaining access to
capital.

Access to credit and capital remains the number one issue raised by
most self-employed and entrepreneurial women -- no matter what
their economic circumstances. Although there are hundreds of
micro-lending programs, most operate independently and have little
national prominence.

Many women fall in between the criteria for eligibility of many micro
lending programs and the credit scoring systems used by
conventional financial institutions. And, the smaller sums of money
that women often look for are not attractive to traditional lenders.

We want to strengthen women's position in the economy
Count Me In will make women visible, valued and more powerful in
the economy.

Count Me In will address the systemic challenges that women face in
traditional lending institutions that do not account for the realities of
women's lives today.

Count Me In will develop a more "woman appropriate" credit scoring
technique that will measure a woman's economic life and business
development potential.

Let's Create our own opportunity!

The need for increased economic opportunity for women cuts across
racial, ethnic and language lines.

Women need financial services including small loans and funds for
training and technical assistance -- in addition to inspiration and
practical information.

Current criteria for gaining access to credit and capital does not fit
the lives many women lead or the kinds of businesses millions of
women start and own. Women tend to start smaller, service related
businesses, do not have traditional forms of collateral, have no credit
or messy credit histories due to divorce or other life circumstances,
and want smaller amounts of money to start a business.


Count Me In has to deny many of the loan applications that it
receives. Loans are primarily denied for three reasons:

limited income to support the debt,
very risky businesses that has limited potential to produce revenue
for repaying a loan, and
very negative credit.

Count Me In cannot provide loans in these situations. Their loan fund
is a revolving fund - They need Count Me In loans to be repaid so that
they can continue loaning to more women. Therefore, not all women
who apply can be given loans.

If you are denied a loan by Count Me In, there are several options:


Get help now.

Attend a business class or workshop.
Contact a local program
that can meet with you to figure out what you need and how you might
rethink, improve, or change what you are doing.

Clean up your credit history before applying for a business
loan. Set up a budget, pay off your bills, and get help to if you need it.
Do not take on any new debt.
Click here to find out how to repair your
credit history.

Delay starting a business and consider employment. Maybe you
need to find a better paying job and to do this you need to upgrade
your skills. Consider going back to school or visiting your local
community college to see if there are classes you could take for
different kinds of employment


Where to get help

There are many places that can help. There may be a program in
your own community that could help you in this situation.


Business Planning and Assistance

Women Business Centers
There are over 70 women business centers in the US.
The programs are funded by the Small Business Administration to
provide training and business consulting to women owned
businesses. There may be one in your community.
Click here to find out if there is one near you.
www.onlinewbc.org/find_local_services.html


Small Business Development Centers
Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) are located in
Community Colleges and Universities throughout the US. The
programs provide classes, workshops and some business consulting
for small business owners. The SBDC's have libraries and provide
state and federal information about starting a business. Many have
computers and small business planning guides that are available free
of charge. Click here to find a program near you.
www.sba.gov/regions/states


Microenterprise Programs
Microenterprise programs work with very small businesses in urban
and rural communities throughout the US. Most programs target
specific groups such as women, low-income, minorities, refugees,
dislocated workers, disabled individuals or other target groups. The
programs provide training and workshops for micro businesses.
Some provide small loans as part of the program. Click here to find a
program near you.
www.microenterpriseworks.org


Bad Credit Assistance

If you have bad credit, now is the time to repair it. Establish a list of all
your bills, set a budget of what you can afford to pay, and build a plan
for paying off your bills. Do not take any more credit cards or buy
anymore on credit. If nothing else, your negative credit will cause you
to have very high interest rates and cost you more in the long run.

Credit Repair
Almost every community has a nonprofit organization called the
Consumer Credit Counseling Service. Look in the phone directory or
call your local United Way for a number of the one closest to you. This
organization will work with you to organize a plan to pay off your
debts. They will help put you on a budget, contact your creditors, and
manage your money to get you out of debt. There is no central web
site as each program is separate so checking the phone book is your
best way to find a program in your community.

WARNING - There are many credit counseling and debt
consolidation companies on the Internet. Not all of them deliver what
they promise in the ads. Check out any company before you sign up.

Denied credit and obtaining a copy of your report
If you are denied credit you can obtain a free copy of your credit
report within 30 days of the denial. The decline letter you receive
should provide the information on obtaining your credit report.

Incorrect Information
Many times the information is incorrect on your credit report. You can
write the credit bureau to correct any inaccurate information. Click
here to find out how to do this.

Small Loans Assistance

Microenterprise Programs
Microenterprise programs work with very small businesses in urban
and rural communities throughout the US. Most programs target
specific groups such as women, low-income, minorities, refugees,
dislocated workers, disabled individuals or other target groups.
These programs provide small loans for micro businesses. Many of
the programs require that you attend training and workshops before
you can obtain a loan. Click below to find a program near you.
wsw.microenterpriseworks.org
www.sba.gov


SBA Loans
The Small Business Administration, a federal government program,
has several small business loan funds. All of the loans are provided
through local accredited lenders - financial institutions that have been
preapproved to provide loans. For a list of the loan programs at the
SBA, click below.
www.sba.gov
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