10 startups hope to earn loans

10 startups hope to earn loans

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:
By Laura Baverman • lbaverman@enquirer.com • January 13, 2011

Lindsey Lusignolo has big plans for her couture fashion design business. She hopes to expand her client list, open a store on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, hire a seamstress and eventually manufacture goods.

And she hopes her involvement in Bad Girl Ventures sets her in the right direction.

Lusignolo, 25, on Thursday became one of 10 finalists for the Over-the-Rhine micro-lending organization’s second loan program. She’ll soon begin an eight-week educational program which culminates in awards from a group of investors of up to $20,000 per woman.

Lusignolo was impressed by the results from the first group of eight female entrepreneurs to complete the program last October. Bad Girl Ventures and two banking partners awarded more than $160,000 in loans to six companies.

“I am interested in learning how to set up my business so it is sustainable and successful,” said the 2009 graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. She makes custom gowns for formal occasions such as weddings and galas.

“Trying to do it on my own, I don’t want to do anything that is going to set me up for failure,” she said.

According to BGV founder Candace Klein, 100 women have now applied for the program since it began last March. She’s also raised more than $200,000 from individual investors, the largest of which sit on an investment committee. That group decides which women to include in the program, and whom to fund at the end of it.

Her original goal was to raise $20,000 to lend to one individual.

“Our goal is now to distribute as many loans as we possibly can, so we’re actively raising individual donations,” she said.

The latest group of women ranges in age from 22 to 58 and in profession from tow-trucking to jewelry-making to television production.

Joining Lusignolo in the upcoming group are:

– Allison Kulage of Bare Knuckles Marketing, an online marketing strategist.

– Jessica Goldberg of Roomations, an Internet platform connecting homeowners with freelance interior designers.

-.Lyn Bucalo of Serket Jewelry, a high-fashion jewelry-maker.

– Andrea Brady of Empowering Innovations, developer of the MyFear Zapper, a website and mobile application that helps children overcome their fears.

– Robin Gentry McGee of Just Great Foods, developer of a line of products that use food as medicine.

– Temeca Jones of Funducate LLC, creator of children’s educational tools, books, videos and merchandise as well as the Fun Bunch Playhouse on cable public-access television.

– Amanda Kelly of Amanda Kelly Salon, a full-service hair salon downtown.

– Rebecca Huber of The Rutile, a fine-jewelry concierge service.

– Dee-Dee Smith of Tri-State Towing, owner of three trucks that provide local, long-distance and roadside assistance.

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