Anonymous gift to UD makes possible West Dayton business loans

University, CityWide oversee ‘microloans’ of up to $20,000.

A gift from an anonymous donor to the University of Dayton has made possible “microloans” of up to $20,000 to West Dayton businesses, the university said Thursday.

Business owners in the West Dayton area who meet certain requirements, including being in operation for at least a year, may apply, UD said.

Applications open Oct. 4. To apply, go to

The loan fund is supported by an anonymous gift to UD, and the incubator is asking banks and foundations to grow the size of that funding pool.

Thursday’s announcement was the university’s first public acknowledgment of the gift. The university’s announcement gave no indication of the size of the donation. A spokeswoman said the university would not offer further information on the gift.

CityWide Development and UD’s student-run Flyer Consulting are overseeing the process.

“Microloans are important to help grow small businesses, especially for historically marginalized entrepreneurs who have faced barriers to traditional funding,” Vince Lewis, director of UD’s Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, said in a statement from the university. “Our goal in offering these loans, along with other support services, is to champion equitable opportunities, and by doing so, create jobs and economic value that help shape a brighter future for our community.”

The “cultural capital” microloans will range from $500 to $20,000. They can be used for expenses, new equipment, website development, marketing, hiring staff and other costs of running a business, UD said.

“Applications will be evaluated based on more flexible criteria emphasizing passion, persistence and planning,” UD said.

“We are excited to be a part of this collaboration and help bring these much-needed resources to underrepresented businesses,” said Brian Heitkamp, CityWide president.

UD undergraduates will be involved in managing the loan portfolio. They also will be involved in assisting applicants who do not meet criteria on their first application, the university said.

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