Economic Development

What is "Open to Business"?

Open to Business is a Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers program that enables cities and counties to enhance their economic development efforts by providing free small business support FREE services to their residents and businesses. OTB started in 2010 in just one city now it operates throughout the Metro area in over 80 communities located in: 


Who Does Open to Business Serve?

Open to Business works with any resident or business owner in the county that wants our help. There is no limit on hours, and since there is no charge and our conversations are confidential, this helps to create a constructive relationship. We strive to be a trusted advisor.

Types of Assistance:

Business Feasibility Analysis
Objectivity and Perspective
Strategic Planning
Operational Planning
Cash Flow Analysis
Marketing Ideas
Loan Packaging and Financing Programs

Financing Programs:

Direct Loans - Micro Loans: 
$25,000 or less Start-up and early stage businesses that cannot secure financing from traditional commercial lenders. OTB is the primary lender, rate is capped at 10%, terms are generally 5 years or less. The interest rates are always higher than market rates. This is a term loan and not a grant, so the borrower must be able to show how they will repay the loan. Open to Business has an external loan committee as well as staff to service the term loans and expect the loan to be repaid. This type of funding might works best as a bridge loan to get to acquire bank financing.

Participation Loans – Gap Lending:  

Subordinate financing partnership with private lenders with matching terms for asset purchases, real estate, or working capital needs. OTB can provide financing up to 50% of a given project and can subordinate collateral and collections to the primary lender.  As an example, if the purchase price of a building was $200,000, and the appraisal came in lower than expected, a bank would expect the borrower to come up with the difference. Open to Business financing would be a good fit for the “gap.” Over the years, Open to Business has established several partnerships with many community banks. This is sometimes the glue that holds deals together.

Creative Financing:  

Short-term financing tied to repayment event, bridge financing to fulfill a contract or purchase order.  As an example, a roofer with a contract to roof a school may not be paid for 90 days, but must fund/complete the work. The work could be funded with an Open to Business loan, with the contract as the collateral/evidence of repayment. When the school district pays the contractor, they close out the loan. This situation can help to boost the borrowers credit score.

Contact Information

John Endris Business Advisor

Most efficient means of contact:

Secondary means of contact: