BR MicroCapital Directors Speak on Local Investing for Community Wealth

2/28/2012 11:22:00 AM

MBAs share success of student-run organization and offer insights on creating community capital


Three student directors of BR MicroCapital (BRM) participated in a panel discussion on February 9, 2012, to a packed house of Ithaca-area entrepreneurs.  Directors Max Schomaecker, Elaina Dionisopoulos, and Kavita Nehemiah, all MBA ’12,  joined Tristram Coffin, CEO of Alternatives Federal Credit Union (AFCU), Krys Cail of Slow Money Central New York, and Fred Schoeps of Local Investment Opportunity Network (LION) for Tompkins County to discuss local investing in Ithaca. The panel focused on how initiatives based on local investment can help create community capital, support entrepreneurship, and strengthen the local economy. The event was part of a series hosted by the Sustainable Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Network (SEEN) of Ithaca on topics relating to the triple bottom line principles: people, planet, and profit.

“It was an honor to sit on a panel of such local luminaries and it shows how far we’ve come in the last four years,” said Max Schomaecker, BRM’s director of operations, who also sits on the board of AFCU. 

The event was an opportunity to showcase BRM’s success working with local entrepreneurs, and also to reach out to potential new clients.

“BRM is unique in that it is one of the first successful partnerships between Johnson and the Ithaca community at large,” said Kavita Nehemiah, BRM’s director of client services. “It’s been a great opportunity to work with some remarkable entrepreneurs and apply what we’ve been learning in class.”

BRM has provided business coaching services to more than 40 local entrepreneurs, since its founding in 2009. Its client base includes businesses ranging from local farms and shops, to LED lighting manufacturers and technology startups. Steve Sierigk, the founder of Acorn Designs and one of BRM’s original clients has said “BRM’s coaching has been invaluable. A lot of my peers don’t have the tools to keep pace with how quickly the world is changing.”

BR MicroCapital (BRM) is a student-run organization that spurs microenterprise development by assisting self-employed individuals to reach their business goals. BRM seeks to meet a critical need by working with promising yet underserved entrepreneurs in the local community. BRM partners with AFCU, a leading community development credit union, and the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise to support microbusiness owners. By offering targeted business assistance, including loans to entrepreneurs, its goal is to contribute to the local community by supporting inclusive wealth creation and economic development.

For more information, please contact Elaina Dionisopoulos, director of external development at ecd63@cornell.edu, or call 607-255-5551.

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