22: Inja Coates

Apply (as an entrepreneur OR an aunt / uncle)

Show Notes

  • Inja Coates is the Client Relationship Manager for The Enterprise Center's Capital Corporation, which assists local businesses seeking capital
  • She is also the Loan Fund Manager for The Circle of Aunt's and Uncle's, a funding source for Philadelphia entrepreneurs in need of a small loan
    • Inja recieved her B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology from Haverford College, with a concentration in fine arts and photography
    • Because of her majors and concentrations in college, Inja was very interested in the arts and social change
    • She worked for several organizations including Philadelphia Horticultural Society's Green program and The Village of Arts and Humanities
    • From there, Inja entered the world of media
      • She worked with the coalition for Public Access TV in Philadelphia - a battle which they eventually won
      • She co-founded The Independent Media Center of Philadelphia
      • This was in the wake of the 2000 Republican National Convention and in response to the alternative news coverage she saw provided in Seattle after protests around world trade policy
        • From there, Media Tank was born, which was focused more long term on media education and policy in a civic engagement way
  • Inja is the Loan Fund Manager for the Circle of Aunts and Uncles
    • She helps recruit applicants, review the applications, and support coordination for their current borrowers
      • The Circle was founded by Judy Wicks, founder of White Dog Cafe
      • It was founded because Judy realized that she wouldn't have been able to start her business if not for support (financial and otherwise) from her friends
      • She realized many potential entrepreneurs don't have access to the social and financial captial they need and wanted to help
      • There are about 30 Aunts and Uncles at the moment
      • They hold quarterly informal gatherings to meet the entrepreneurs and review the applications
      • The Circle provides:
      • Financial Captial
      • Social Capital
      • Quarterly Gatherings
      • The Circle differentiates themselves from other lending institutions by providing a social network and a level of informality
        • It is called "The Circle of Aunts and Uncles" because there is supposed to be a familial relationship there
        • They also fund businesses which meet basic needs - food, clothing, etc.
        • The businesses have a triple bottom-line mentality
      • The loans are up to $12,000 and have fairly generous interest rates
      • Their next step is to provide more support to their entrepreneurs
  • If you are interested in becoming a member of their family (as a lender or an entrepreneur) visit their website, linked below
  • Local Resources

  • WORC
  • Entrepreneur Works
  • The Enterprise Center
  • Small Business Administration