Shawndell Burden in her salon styling a clients hair.

Near Westside Initiative

Shawndell Burden was one of the first funding recipients of the Near Westside Initiative's Microloan Program, created for existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs located in the Near Westside neighborhood of Syracuse.

Shawndell Burden tried several times to apply for a business loan to expand her hair salon, but she was always declined. One banker even said that her business idea was crazy and that she was sure to fail.

Never losing sight of her dream, Shawndell kept trying. Now, she is one of the first funding recipients of the Near Westside Initiative’s Microloan Program, created for existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs located in the Near Westside neighborhood of Syracuse. A Community Foundation grant served as a loan-guarantee to help make the program possible.

In its efforts to revitalize one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States, the Near Westside Initiative recognizes the importance of a strong local business community. Small businesses create job opportunities for residents and foster organic wealth creation, but the types of business loans that most banks offer are too large for their needs. In response, the Near Westside Initiative created a new microloan program in collaboration with Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union that allows neighborhood businesses to apply for smaller loans that are a better fit for their business plans. In addition, each recipient works one-on-one with a local business consultant who can help guide them after the loan is awarded.

Shawndell credits the unique program with helping her fine tune her business plan to make it more desirable for a loan. Now she is on track to expand her salon business by hiring five new employees and renovating to make room for her expanded client base. Her story proves that a positive outlook, strong determination and smart ideas can take you to new heights.

Related Stories

Community Voices header image
Blogs May 13, 2024

Housing Designed for Syracuse Neighborhood Needs

Katie Weaver, director of development of A Tiny Home for Good, explains how A Tiny ...

What we are up to staff image
Topics April 23, 2024

What We Are Up To: CNYCF Staff Updates

Learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive ...

Cortland Bright Ideas 2024
News Releases April 17, 2024

$55,000 In Grants Awarded to Cortland County Nonprofits

Applicants were invited to submit a ‘bright idea’ for enhancing their nonprofit and explain how ...

Woman standing in office
Stories March 19, 2024

Giving Seamlessly: Leyla Morgillo

Giving has always been intrinsic to Leyla Morgillo's being whether it be through her time ...

hand holding growing money
Publications March 5, 2024

FAQS: A Snapshot of Clients’ Tax-Time Charitable Giving Questions

With the year is in full swing, now is a good time for advisors to ...

Men gardening
Blogs March 5, 2024

A safe space for Deaf New Americans to develop education, leadership, and life skills without limitation

Monu Chhetri, founder & CEO of Deaf New American Advocacy, Inc. explains how her participation ...

Group of people at event
Publications March 5, 2024

Collaborative Engagement with Nonprofit Partners

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Granting Matters

Woman sitting with young children
Publications March 5, 2024

Meet Our New President & CEO

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Cover Story

Community Voices header image
Blogs May 13, 2024

Housing Designed for Syracuse Neighborhood Needs

Katie Weaver, director of development of A Tiny Home for Good, explains how A Tiny ...

What we are up to staff image
Topics April 23, 2024

What We Are Up To: CNYCF Staff Updates

Learn about the expertise and passionate commitment amongst our team members as they drive positive ...

Cortland Bright Ideas 2024
News Releases April 17, 2024

$55,000 In Grants Awarded to Cortland County Nonprofits

Applicants were invited to submit a ‘bright idea’ for enhancing their nonprofit and explain how ...

Woman standing in office
Stories March 19, 2024

Giving Seamlessly: Leyla Morgillo

Giving has always been intrinsic to Leyla Morgillo's being whether it be through her time ...

hand holding growing money
Publications March 5, 2024

FAQS: A Snapshot of Clients’ Tax-Time Charitable Giving Questions

With the year is in full swing, now is a good time for advisors to ...

Men gardening
Blogs March 5, 2024

A safe space for Deaf New Americans to develop education, leadership, and life skills without limitation

Monu Chhetri, founder & CEO of Deaf New American Advocacy, Inc. explains how her participation ...

Group of people at event
Publications March 5, 2024

Collaborative Engagement with Nonprofit Partners

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Granting Matters

Woman sitting with young children
Publications March 5, 2024

Meet Our New President & CEO

Giving Voice Winter 2024: Cover Story

View More