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Economic Development

WEDI’s Economic Development focus area provides multi-faceted support to aspiring and early career entrepreneurs, helping them gain access to capital and resources, address challenges, and incubate concepts. ED offers two programs available to underserved residents of all races, ethnicities, and genders: Microloans (modest loans to entrepreneurs) and the West Side Bazaar (a small business incubator and community gathering space).

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Many aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs, particularly those from communities of color, lack access to the resources and capital they need to launch, sustain, and grow small businesses. WEDI addresses these disparities by helping entrepreneurs access resources that teach them how to run a small business, become credit-ready, secure capital, and incubating retail concepts. WEDI's staff and volunteer professional mentors provide ongoing coaching and support to clients. This immersive approach to programming and services was designed to address the community’s unique needs, particularly those of refugees/immigrants and of entrepreneurs lacking traditional financial education/literacy.

Borrowing money or opening a kiosk at the West Side Bazaar can take some time. To help clients be fully prepared to take advantage of our services when they become available, we  work with many respected local and regional partners who provide guidance and resources to aspiring entrepreneurs.