BR Microenterprise

Who We Are

Big Red Microenterprise (BRM) is a student-run organization that spurs microenterprise development by assisting self-employed individuals reach their business goals. Launched in January of 2009, BRM seeks to meet a critical need by working with promising, but underserved entrepreneurs in the local community. BRM partners with Alternatives Federal Credit Union (Alternatives), a leading community development credit union, and the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise (Center) to support microbusiness owners. By offering targeted business assistance including coaching and loans to entrepreneurs, our goal is to contribute to the local community, supporting inclusive wealth creation and economic development.

The first such program among business schools, BRM serves as a bridge connecting the human capital and resources of  Johnson with talented, community-based entrepreneurs. Through customized support services that recognize the challenges faced by self-employed microbusiness owners, we assist clients reach their goals and build successful businesses.

What We Offer

BRM provides business and lending support to entrepreneurs. The business support program is structured to assist self-employed individuals think through their business strategies and tackle difficult business challenges. The lending support program offers customized loans at favorable rates. These programs are designed to work together, offering coaching support and lending where small injections of capital can make the difference between the success or failure of a microbusiness.

Building Successful Microbusinesses

We work in partnership with clients, community and university partners to create mutually-beneficial relationships. With Alternatives Federal Credit Union and the Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise, we accomplish the following:

  • Leverage Johnson and community resources to offer customized lending and client support services to microbusinesses.
  • Partner with microbusiness owners to help them think through their business plans, tackle business problems, and connect to other helpful resources to support growth and expansion.
  • Offer unparalleled performance-learning opportunities to business school students by applying best practices in social entrepreneurship and sustainable enterprise development.

Applying to BRM

If you are a self-employed Tompkins County resident or have a microbusiness near Tompkins County, BRM may be just the right service for you! Preference is given to applicants that meet the following criteria:

  • Tompkins County resident (or place of business within or near the county).
  • Earn less than 80% of the county's median income ($45,535 for a 1-person household).
  • Have a microbusiness that has been operational for at least six months.
  • Have limited access to the formal financial system due to poor credit history, lack of credit history, or limited collateral.

If you are interested in learning more or applying for client support and/or a loan, please contact Shamir Kapadia, Director of Operations at sk2599@cornell.edu.

*Johnson students who are interested in joining BRM should contact Steve Carlos, Director of Training and Events at sc2458@cornell.edu.