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Kate Novotny

Chicago, IL

I am a Loan Officer at Accion Chicago, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs in Illinois and Northwest Indiana from communities underserved by traditional financial institutions. With microloans and business coaching, our clients are able to build their businesses, strengthen their communities and create jobs. This bridges the divide that too often keeps small business owners from accessing capital that will grow their business and promote healthy economic activity in their communities.

The biggest reward of working with small business owners is seeing the positive impact they make within their community. Maritza, an entrepreneur who owns her own daycare business, is one of my clients who has a lot of determination to establish her family and her business here in the United States. Coming from Guatemala, she and her family faced challenges of settling in and finding employment opportunities. Maritza has education certifications in Guatemala but they did not transfer to the United States. She is not only making a living for her family, but also creating employment for 3 others in her community and providing a service to families in her area with her daycare. 

Business owners like Maritza are transforming lives and impacting communities in ways they never envisioned. It takes a lot of courage, patience and determination to keep a business alive and growing in communities that face economic, social and racial barriers on a daily basis. Having a small business owner in the community becomes a pillar of hope and a symbol of determination, resilience and opportunity to those living in the neighborhood. This is the foundation of community revitalization and equitable economic development.