Entrepreneur Club Offers Funding Program to Small Businesses

The Entrepreneur Club at Ramapo is offering a new micro-loan program to any student interested in starting a small business or venture that requires funds that are not available to them.

The program was established through a partnership with the Center for Student Involvement. The Center for Student Involvement was able to allocate money from the College to put towards this brand new program.

The program will help to serve not only students looking for money, but also students looking to obtain real-world experience in financial dealings and responsibility.

Jacob Marks, sophomore and vice president of the Entrepreneur Club and president of the micro-loan program, said this platform was designed for the sole benefit of students.

"We're not working with any special interests in mind," said Marks. "This program was designed in order to give students business experience and help entrepreneurs on campus succeed."

This semester is the first time that funds will be available for distribution by application, which totals at $1,500 and could total more in the future depending on the program's success. Applications are not yet available, but the club plans to have the process operating by mid-semester.

The application process mirrors that of a legitimate loan process that one could encounter at any financial establishment.

Students who are interested attend a meeting held by the club where they are provided with information, such as the terms of the contract, including deadlines for repayment. If that student wishes to proceed, he or she then attends a meeting with the officiating board, which will be made up of members of the club and a professor. At the board meeting, the student's plan is reviewed and deemed eligible on the basis of whether or not they have a concrete plan to pay back the loan over a certain period of time and whether or not the project is feasible.

According to Marks, the club has already seen many students take interest in the program.

"It's a good start," said Shauharda Khadka, a junior. "It could probably bring financially interested people together and give someone a legitimate start."

Successful small tech start-ups, like the iTunes App Store and Facebook, are becoming more and more common and range from complete websites to small applications. The micro-loan program could potentially fund a Ramapo student's idea in a relatively cheap manner compared to potential long-term profits. After all, even Mark Zuckerberg's idea for Facebook started in a dorm room with money from a loan.