DECATUR — Kyle Nicholson had an idea.
The Decatur senior in the international business program Millikin University’s Tabor School of Business turned the idea into the Millikin Microfinance Fund to help disadvantaged woman entrepreneurs in the Dominican Republic by providing small loans to start a business.
After a successful visit in January and fundraising activities, the fund made its first loan in August, amounting to $1,837.58, to a microfinance institution in the Dominican. The money will help about three entrepreneurs in the Santo Domingo area.
A conference call to check on the loans is set for Friday, Nicholson said. The money was obtained through donations and Millikin events such as a Dominican art auction and a nitrogen ice cream social.
“The Dominican Republic is a poor country,” Nicholson said. “I’ve been there twice. There is enormous inequality in the Caribbean. Dominican per capita income is $9,300. Our mission is to help bring positive social change. The fund plans to have a $5,000 loan portfolio. The estimated average loan will be $600.
“We have the ability, we have the will, now we need donors,” Nicholson explains. “The mission also provides an international educational opportunity for the Millikin community.”
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The student-operated fund also provides Caribbean art support. The plan is to offer art entrepreneurs assistance in developing advanced commerce capabilities, according to a Nicholson brochure.
Nicholson, a senior, is also an accomplished musician on the trumpet, having excelled at MacArthur High School and with Millikin’s bands and orchestras.