Builds on Relationship with Prestigious Maxwell School at Syracuse University

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (March 6, 2018) - Building on longstanding collaborative initiatives with Syracuse University, continues development of its nationally recognized hybrid social enterprise business model with the assistance of SU’s prestigious #1 ranked Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs.

  Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs  ( Photo credit: Syracuse University )

Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs (Photo credit: Syracuse University)

Highlighted recently in an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, at the White House for economic impact, and in the Business & Management Review for socially responsible innovation in financial technology (FinTech), is at the forefront of a new era of hybrid social enterprises: organizations that pursue social missions that are fueled by market-based solutions, integrating social and economic objectives. As noted by Huffington Post, the number of social enterprises in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2006.

“The social innovators leading the hybrid movement have advanced efforts to increase accountability of both for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises by combining the best attributes of each,” writes Chris Miller, CEO of the Mission Center L3C Incubator, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “It seems safe to assume that the vanguards of the millennial generation and hybrid movement, respectively, will continue to seek more authentic, transparent, and accountable mechanisms for changing the world.”

Specifically, the university and foundation-backed was launched to provide a low-cost alternative to the rapidly expanding number of predatory online small business lenders that are increasingly using deceptive tactics, misleading fees, and hidden costs.

As noted by the U.S. Treasury Department, as big banks cut down on their small business lending following the 2008 financial crisis, online FinTech firms stepped in to fill the unmet demand for credit. As a result, the industry boomed and is on track to lend $90 billion a year by 2020. However, according to Opportunity Fund, FinTech loans come at a substantial price with annual percentage interest rates (APRs) reaching from 94% to as high as 358%.

Research published by Karen Mills, distinguished senior fellow at Harvard University who lead the U.S. SBA during the Obama Administration, points to a disconnect between traditional banks, that cite a lack of demand from qualified borrowers, and creditworthy business owners, who describe going from bank to bank unable to get a business loan. As a result, small businesses are turning to predatory online lending platforms in record numbers., on the other hand, provides the first and only universal business financing application system in U.S. history accessing the complete national network of over 14,000 trusted, transparent, and low-cost community banks, credit unions, and community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Not only does the platform simplify the capital search process but it also streamlines the loan application process by eliminating 100+ hours of paperwork.

The platform’s national financial inclusion campaign and social enterprise business model includes multiple independently operated organizations operating toward a shared mission of leveling the playing field for all entrepreneurs in the U.S. in order to stimulate economic impact and community development outcomes. The independently operated non-profit 501(c)(3) involved with, which the Maxwell School is helping develop further, provides business development support services to underserved entrepreneurs in order to encourage growth and job creation while providing unique hands-on experience for Maxwell students.

“As SU graduates, my colleague Sara Brainard and I are incredibly honored to build on our work with Syracuse University and our collaboration with the always inspiring Christina Leigh Deitz and her brilliant Maxwell students,” said W. Michael Short, founder and CEO of