Students Offer Microloans to Help Campus Neighbors Start Small Businesses

Students Offer Microloans to College-Town Neighbors 1

Brendan McInerney

Tracey Amadi, a widow and mother of three from New Jersey, co-founded a natural-skin-care company called Skin Arise with a loan from the Intersect Fund, a student-run microlender at Rutgers U. She now serves on the fund's client-advisory board.

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close Students Offer Microloans to College-Town Neighbors 1

Brendan McInerney

Tracey Amadi, a widow and mother of three from New Jersey, co-founded a natural-skin-care company called Skin Arise with a loan from the Intersect Fund, a student-run microlender at Rutgers U. She now serves on the fund's client-advisory board.

Small entrepreneurs typically turn to banks to finance their business ideas, but in a handful of college towns, they have a new option: Just ask the students.

In the last four years, about a dozen student groups have begun offering loans to local residents who want to start businesses but are unlikely to qualify for traditional bank loans.

"We're making loans to the people who need them most. In between classes," is the tag line of the Campus Microfinance Alliance, a national