Toledo LISC Supports Small Businesses (Part 1): ECDI – Providing Capital to Underserved Entrepreneurs

Mar 30, 17 Toledo LISC Supports Small Businesses (Part 1): ECDI – Providing Capital to Underserved Entrepreneurs

Toledo Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Toledo LISC) understands that small businesses form the heart of energetic and vibrant local economies. They provide essential goods and services to residents, create jobs, spark economic opportunity and innovation, and foster a sense of community. This post is the first in a series that will highlight local entrepreneurs and LISC partners providing support to small businesses, as well as financing that provides access to capital to help entrepreneurs put down roots or expand in underserved neighborhoods.

Toledo LISC is a proud partner of the Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI), a nonprofit economic development organization that provides micro-loans to small businesses that do not qualify for conventional bank financing. Since opening its field office in Toledo in 2013, ECDI has provided over $800,000 in mirco-loans to small businesses in the Toledo region.

ECDI provided a $16,000 loan to Black Frog Brewery, the first minority-owned brewery in Toledo, in 2016. Christopher Harris, owner of Black   Frog, launched the businesses from his garage in 2014. ECDI’s loan helped Black Frog Brewery build out a tap house and purchase furniture and equipment to expand production. The tap house debuted in September of 2016 and is now open every Friday and Saturday. According to Christopher, ECDI’s support was critical and he was “really surprised how many people want to help you and see you succeed.”


DSC_10053Also in 2016, R.L. Williams Concrete, LLC received a $50,000 micro-loan from ECDI. Following in his father’s footsteps, Charles Williams runs R.L. Williams Concrete, which specializes in exterior concrete, removing and replacing sidewalks, driveways and curbs, roadway pavement repairs, grading, and structures adjustments. The loan provided working capital, the purchase of materials, and refinanced existing debt. Charles was referred to ECDI by  the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s after successfully participating in their Diversified Contractors Accelerator Program (DCAP), which provides  financial solutions to encourage increased participation by Northwest Ohio-based minority- and women-owned contractors in publicly-bid work and  privately-funded construction projects.


DSC_10030ECDI’s support for underserved entrepreneurs in Toledo makes our neighborhoods stronger, more vibrant places to live, work, and play.

For information about LISC Small Business Financing, visit or contact for more information.




Photo Credits: Heather Ballmer Meyer

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