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Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute

As a Community Development Financial Institution, for more than 10 years RMMFI has served Denver's under-resourced entrepreneurs with business development, personal capacity-building, and lending. RMMFI uses business ownership as a tool for socioeconomic mobility.

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Idea Program

Class

Community Development 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges
Offenders, Ex-Offenders

Description

The Idea Program is the beginning of every Entrepreneur's journey. "Idea" focuses on enhancing the feasibility of both the business idea and the personal capacity of the Entrepreneur. Programming includes targeted community outreach, partnership development, one-on-one support from RMMFI's Idea Coordinator and volunteer mentors, and specialized workshops. A four week Business Idea Lab cohort program was introduce in 2020.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Entrepreneur Story:

"After graduating Business Launch Boot Camp at the end of 2015, Kerry was ready to relaunch her hobby as a full blown business. Kerry uses recycled wine bottles to create candles, each with unique scents. Working out of her studio in Lakewood, Kerry sells her candles whole sale around Denver and individually through her website and in person. She has expanded her business from just making candles to creating light fixtures as well. Behind the product, Kerry hopes to employ women that have their own barriers to employment, giving them a safe work environment to gain skills. Kerry took the full $2500 loan for inventory, and as of March 2017 is now full-time in her business. When asked what "Mentorship" means to her, Kerry said: "I didn't have anyone in the past when I was going through a lot. Now, I want to be the person I needed."

Launch Program

Class

Community Development 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged

Description

The Launch Program includes a 12-week intensive "Business Launch Boot Camp" (BLBC) course. It is offered 5x/year across two locations, with the goal of launching 50-55 operating businesses each year. The curriculum focuses on the four pillars of business: marketing, operations, management, and financials. Entrepreneurs are paired with a three-person support team (Business Mentor, Financial Mentor, and Accountability Coach) focused on building a strong business concept.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Since it's founding in 2008, RMMFI has graduated 26 classes of the Business Launch Boot Camp with an 88% graduation rate which resulted in the launch or expansion of 219 businesses in Denver.

Entrepreneur Story:

Sheree Sabelle graduated from Business Launch Boot camp #8 in December 2013. Sheree has been a long time masseuse who created and mastered her own massage technique. Through RMMFI, she established her own massage practice to break away from working for other massage and spa chains. Sheree received an initial loan from RMMFI and paid it off in 2014 and, per RMMFI's lending model, was eligible to apply for another loan. Sheree has continued to utilize RMMFI's lending for capital to continue growing her business.



Thrive Program

Class

Community Development 

Beneficiaries

Adults
At-Risk Populations
Ethnic/Racial Minorities
Females
Poor, Economically Disadvantaged, Indigent

Description

The Thrive Program supports Entrepreneurs who successfully complete the Launch Program and is available for the life of their business. This support includes microloans from $250 to $75,000 at 8%. Mentorship, workshops, a discounted accounting program and a free co-working space are included.

Photos

Evidence of Program's Success

Since it's founding in 2008, RMMFI has distributed 217 loans for over $537,925 to low-income entrepreneurs in Denver with a 95% repayment rate.

Entrepreneur Story:

Kimberly Ford-Ming graduated Boot Camp Class #10 in 2011. Over the years, she has engaged RMMFI as a service provider, offering her amazing talent and skills to support RMMFI in capturing graduation and special events. As she continued to grow as an entrepreneur, Kimberly discovered that her true passion was to explore new revenues streams in her business that allowed her to live her passion - visual storytelling. With that, she came to RMMFI's Post Boot Camp program looking for guidance on how to make her dream a reality.

Kimberly began working alongside LIdi Mocko (business mentor) to prepare her financial statements to pursue a loan from RMMFI. Kimberly's initial request came in significantly higher than RMMFI's lending capability so an introduction was made to ACCION Colorado. After approval, Kimberly continued to work through her business financial challenges alongside Tim Vogelzang (Financial Mentor) to ensure her tax obligations were up to date.

Kimberly is growing her business steadily and continues to look to her mentorship team for guidance on how to build the most successful business possible.

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.