In brief, describe the mission of your company.
The mission of ROI Business Funding is to support and empower small businesses to grow and thrive by transforming and expanding their access to knowledge, capital and networks.
What services do you currently offer entrepreneurs to grow and scale their businesses?
ROI Business Funding is a Chicago-based company that provides established businesses and startups across the United States and Canada alternative sources of funding. In the spectrum of small business lending, we fill what's called the "missing middle" gap, where the capital amount that the business owner seeks is too small or risky for traditional banks, but too big for nonprofit lenders or microfinance institutions.
Our team advocates for small businesses who have limited access to capital and as an added service, we provide them with technical assistance and coaching to become fundable.
Being transparent and putting our clients’ best interests first in everything we do is important to us. We offer a one-on-one consultation to understand our clients’ goals and specific business situation. Once we determine their true capital needs, we offer them the best fit funding option(s), which range from business credit cards, asset-based revolving lines of credit, unsecured short-term loans, factoring receivables to long-term SBA-backed loans. The funding can be used for purchasing equipment, hiring employees, launching marketing campaigns, opening new locations, or working capital for day-to-day operating expenses.
At ROI Business Funding, our philosophy is simple: Our clients matter, and we care about their success. If the business will not benefit, we simply will not move forward. We see our clients as valued friends and family and treat them in a way that results in long-term loyalty. Our goal is to become our clients’ trusted funding partner so that they remain our clients for life.
Why Chicago? Can you expand on why Chicago is a great city to support small businesses?
Chicago is a vibrant city rich in culture, talent and diversity of people, neighborhoods, industries, ethnicities, experiences, and backgrounds—making it an attractive place to launch and grow a business. The City of Chicago has unparalleled transportation systems, breathtaking architecture as well as world-class universities, museums, theaters, parks, and restaurants. Each of the 77 neighborhoods in Chicago has distinct characteristics and a tremendous sense of community, which allows entrepreneurs to build strong connections with their prospects, customers, clients, and fellow business owners. Chicago is a big city with a welcoming vibe so there are various opportunities to network, connect, and partner with other like-minded entrepreneurs. Many Chicagoans are entrepreneurial, civic-minded, and driven to effect change—intentionally focusing on stimulating inclusive economic growth, investing in revitalizing struggling neighborhoods, and strengthening the local economy through business and job creation. In providing Chicago entrepreneurs with the necessary capital for growth and expansion, we are supporting our city’s greatest visionaries and innovators.
Why do you think it is important to expand your reach to more businesses owned by women, veteran and minorities?
Entrepreneurship is a key driver of economic growth, wealth, innovation and job creation. More and more women, veterans, and minorities are becoming entrepreneurs and launching businesses at exponentially increasing rates, but many of them face critical barriers. Inadequate access to capital among small businesses continues to be a critical factor limiting the growth, expansion, and sustainability of small businesses, particularly those owned by women, veterans and minorities. Unless immediate action is taken, the underrepresented firms will continue to lag behind and many will not realize their full potential and impact in our communities.
Many women, veteran, and minority businesses are not aware of the plethora of resources available for starting and growing their businesses. Removing barriers to accessing capital begins with providing entrepreneurs with open doors to education, mentoring, opportunities, and networks. Expanding our reach to invest in underrepresented entrepreneurs can spur economic growth, revitalize our neighborhoods, and build a more vibrant community. It is socially responsible and good for business to close this financing gap. Supporting the growth of businesses owned by women, veteran, and minorities will reduce racial and gender wealth gaps, create jobs, and increase social mobility.
Together, we need to create a greater awareness of the various networks, organizations, information, technical assistance, funding options, and other business resources available to small businesses that will increase their connections, business acumen, and confidence to overcome challenges and leverage business opportunities. To drive progress, we must be intentional about empowering and advocating for women, veterans, and minorities to enhance their own economic development and be in positions of power, influence, and leadership.
In your opinion, what are the immediate and long-term challenges for entrepreneurs that you see? Can you provide an example based on your experience?
Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the backbone of our economy—promoting innovation, creating new jobs, and spurring economic progress. They are a powerful force that can drive massive impact in our communities. Yet, small businesses remain significantly underserved by banks and other financial institutions. Referred to as the “missing middle,” their financing needs are typically too big for microfinance lenders and too small for banks and traditional lenders. Many entrepreneurs do not meet the collateral, revenues, or credit qualifications required for funding, and most banks consider small businesses risky and costly to underwrite. Although small businesses have the potential for significant growth, they are finding it incredibly difficult to find or qualify for the right funding sources to grow.
The availability of working capital is essential for small business startup, survival, growth and sustainability. My team and I have come across a multitude of business owners who cannot pursue and had to walk away from high growth opportunities due to lack of capital. Because they are undercapitalized, small businesses struggle to grow, innovate and scale. For example, several companies in the construction industry shared that they had won contracts from the local, state or federal government. Because most of them typically do not get paid until 90 days or even longer, many companies need bridge financing for the upfront project costs. While it is exciting to close on a government contract, many business owners get disheartened when they cannot cover the operational costs of a particular project. Many opportunities are lost due to lack of funding. Without access to capital, they are not able to get the work done, purchase equipment, meet payroll nor fund other projects or assignments. As a result, the business becomes paralyzed and the business owners are turning away other contracts and orders. Small businesses need to overcome this challenge. To support entrepreneurs and small business owners, at ROI Business Funding, we are continuously and proactively seeking partners, investors, and finance providers with innovative funding solutions to bridge the “missing middle” finance gap to fund and empower entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Our team helps grow entrepreneurship in Chicago every day.
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