Business Financing

IN THE NEWS: Selected Forbes Editors' Pick - “Funding Platform Aims To 'Level The Playing Field' For Small Business”

NEW YORK CITY (March 31, 2018) was highlighted by Forbes in the feature “A New Funding Platform Aims To 'Level The Playing Field' For Small Business” by Robb Mandelbaum.

"In 2014, research by Karen Mills, former administrator of the Small Business Administration under President Obama, confirmed what [ CEO W. Michael Short] found on the ground [as a Syracuse University Engagement Scholar and social entrepreneur helping small businesses & high impact initiatives access capital].

"There's a disconnect," Short said, "between lenders who say they can't find qualified applicants, and the credit-worthy businesses going from lender to lender and can't find a loan." That year he decided to launch as a nationwide resource for small businesses. “If you're a business owner, you're really on your own,” Short explained. “It's impossible to get the full picture of [every business financing opportunitity & what's the best match]."

"In January, Short, who is 31, [completed the national expansion of, which is] intended to provide that big picture — especially for underserved businesses, like those owned by women and minorities, who find it disproportionately harder to borrow money. Over the last four years, his company has painstakingly collected data on loan programs and application requirements from some 14,000 institutions nationwide, including small community banks, credit unions, local economic aid groups known as community development financial institutions, and other nonprofit lenders."

About provides an easy, safe and secure online system for entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations in the U.S. to apply for low-cost financing from high-quality community lenders using the nation’s first universal small business loan application process. was launched as an inclusive, transparent and low-cost alternative to the rapidly growing number of predatory online lenders and predatory online loan brokers. The financial technology platform’s unprecedented Responsible Finance Network includes over 14,000 trusted community banks, non-profit lenders, credit unions and CDFIs in the U.S.

Highlighted for economic impact at the White House and for socially responsible "FinTech Innovation" in the Business & Management Review, the university, foundation and investor-backed is leveling the playing field for ALL entrepreneurs in the U.S. so they can easily find and secure the quality business financing to expand and create jobs. Builds on Collaboration with Prestigious Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University

Photo Credit: Syracuse University

Photo Credit: Syracuse University

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (March 6, 2018) - Building on long-standing collaborative efforts and initiatives with Syracuse University, providing over 150 graduate & undergraduate students to date with engaged and experiential scholarship opportunities, continues to develop its social enterprise business model with the assistance of the Community Benchmarks Program at SU’s prestigious Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs.

W. Michael Short , Founder , and Director of the International Innovators Initiative ( IN2NYC ) at Medgar Evers College School of Business, City University of New York ( VIDEO LINK ).

W. Michael Short, Founder, and Director of the International Innovators Initiative (IN2NYC) at Medgar Evers College School of Business, City University of New York (VIDEO LINK).

Highlighted in Forbes, at the New York Stock Exchange, at the White House for economic impact, and in the Business & Management Review for socially responsible innovation in financial is at the forefront of a new era of hybrid social enterprises: organizations that pursue social missions that are fueled by market-based business models, integrating social and economic objectives.

"The development strategies and plans evolving from our previous work with the Community Benchmark Program in 2015 helped build a strong foundation for the successful national expansion of our hybrid social enterprise business model," said CEO W. Michael Short (SU '10 & SU Engagement Scholar '11). "We're grateful for the opportunity to build on that successful collaboration."

As noted by Huffington Post, in an article highlighting the involvement of SU in the early development of with social entrepreneur W. Michael Short, 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, university, foundation, and investor-backed expanded nationally in the U.S. to provide a trusted, transparent, & low-cost alternative to the growing number of predatory online small business lenders that are increasingly using deceptive tactics, misleading fees, and hidden costs to take advantage of entrepreneurs nationwide. 

As noted by the U.S. Treasury Department, 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%.

Karen Mills  is a Fellow at the Harvard and a leading authority on entrepreneurship & online lending. She was a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, serving as the Administrator of the U.S. SBA from 2009 to 2013 (Photo: U.S. SBA).

Karen Mills is a Fellow at the Harvard and a leading authority on entrepreneurship & online lending. She was a member of President Obama’s Cabinet, serving as the Administrator of the U.S. SBA from 2009 to 2013 (Photo: U.S. SBA).

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, businesses are turning to predatory online lending platforms in record numbers. provides the first & only universal small business loan application system accessing every community bank, credit union, non-profit lender, & community development financial institution (CDFI) in the U.S. with the platform's national Responsible Finance Network™ incorporating a network of over 14,000 of the nation's most trusted, transparent, & low-cost lenders. simplifies the capital search process, streamlines the business financing application process, and eliminates over 100 hours of paperwork for entrepreneurs. Using technology to assess the particular circumstances of each entrepreneur, business venture, or organization, along with advanced matchmaking algorithms, identifies the small business lending programs that are a good fit out of all the opportunities available.

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, community development, and job creation. Partnership with to Provide Alternative to Predatory Lenders

NEW YORK CITY (January 15, 2018) - University and foundation-backed recently announced a new partnership with to support small business growth and job creation in the US.


Serving as a Kiva Trustee, will be recommending entrepreneurs and small businesses for priority access to 0% interest small business loans.

The new partnership demonstrates growing momentum behind’s national campaign for the financial inclusion and empowerment of all entrepreneurs in the US.

The partnership also represents further expansion of’s Responsible Finance Network™, which has grown to include several thousand trusted, transparent, and low-cost community lenders within the last year.

“This is yet another exciting step forward in our commitment to level the playing field for all entrepreneurs and small business owners in the US so they can easily find and secure the quality, low-cost, and transparent financing needed to expand & create jobs,” said Sara Brainard, Brooklyn-based entrepreneur and VP of Corporate Operations for

One entrepreneur already benefiting from the new partnership is Ashley Warmington, a student entrepreneur at Medgar Evers College School of Business who is working on her MWBE certification with the support of the College’s nationally recognized Entrepreneurship & Experiential Learning Lab.

Using, Ashley’s AirBnB management and concierge company, Cozy Oasis, was matched with Kiva and recommended for funding. The funding will accelerate the company’s growth globally into three new countries, which will create several new jobs in the Brooklyn community.

"Our entrepreneurs and small businesses face significant barriers when seeking financing to grow and create jobs,” said JoAnn Rolle, dean of the Business School at Medgar Evers College. “Entrepreneurship is an an important self directed career pathway for many of our students after they graduate and access to funding is crucial.”

To learn more about the positive impact is having, click here.

Commitment to Action: Financial Inclusion & Economic Empowerment

Newhouse School & Alumnus Develop National Entrepreneurship Initiative (W. Michael Short Founder) FinTech Small Business Lending

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (October 24, 2014) - The S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and Short Enterprises have partnered to establish the Startup Insider Initiative, a network supporting entrepreneurs throughout the United States. The Initiative's primary focus will be to design and launch, a new platform that will streamline access to business financing from trusted community lenders, providing the first alternative to the proliferation of predatory online lenders. The platform will be committed to financial inclusion, working with business owners in underserved communities who don't have access to low-cost financing.