A Helping Hand

Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development, an undergraduate micro-finance project, granted one of its first loans to Brigitte Giles, owner of Ebony Barber Shop. With the micro-loan she replaced the deteriorating tile floor in her shop on Church Street and Dodge Avenue in west Evanston. Ravi Umarji (McC10) and Adam Whittington (WCAS10) founded LEND last year after raising $1,000 and securing a grant from the Associated Student Government. LEND also received prize money in the NU Venture Challenge. LEND makes yearlong loans with 10 percent annual interest to local entrepreneurs. As an incentive for timely payments, LEND returns half of the interest collected and allows the borrower to qualify for a larger loan the next year. “We’re not as interested in turning a profit as we are in empowering entrepreneurs in Evanston,” said LEND co-president and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences junior Rory O’Byrne. LEND also provides an eight-week business training course, after which participants are given the opportunity to apply for a loan.

For more information on LEND, watch the organization's business plan presentation.