Nonprofit launches radio show 

San Francisco nonprofit Urban Solutions has launched a radio program designed to help small businesses, particularly home-based micro-businesses, get the information they need to get ahead.

Titled "Business Basics," the program runs monthly on local nonprofit radio station KPOO, 89.5 FM on the dial. This month’s edition airs Friday at 4 p.m. and will discuss business loans, obstacles to receiving lending and ways to improve credit.

"We’re going to take a look at credit, and some of the things that serve as barriers to accessing loans for small business owners, and ways to go about correcting those, re-routing your credit history to get it back on track," said Helen Branham, Urban Solutions’ director of small business services and the show’s co-host.

Guests for the show will include a credit counselor and Taylor Phan Kennedy, a consultant with Lenders for Community Development, a not-for-profit that recently expanded from serving San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to serving San Francisco and Alameda counties. Among other programs, the lending group makes very small loans — on the order of $2,000 — to would-be entrepreneurs with troubled credit who cannot get bank loans, so they can build their credit scores.

"A lot of people think, ‘What am I going to do with one or two thousand?’" but it does create opportunity, Phan Kennedy said. "A lot of times our businesses are not retail locations."

For example, she said, local businessman Nestor Reyes used several small loans to grow his stuffed-monkfish business into a wholesale market. Phan Kennedy’s group plans to make 200 loans totaling over $1 million in 2007, the majority for less than $10,000.

Other topics for the three-month-old show have included taxes and minority business ownership, Branham said. Urban Solutions was inspired to do the show because the group realized it was not reaching some entrepreneurs who could not attend its small business classes, for example, single mothers with home-based businesses, she said.

"It reaches people who may not be able to get out in the evening," Branham said, adding that the group is trying to expand its services and attract more clients. Urban Solutions is a small-sized nonprofit, which a budget of slightly more than $1 million, a spokeswoman said.

KPOO is broadcast out of the Western Addition and reaches parts of San Francisco, including Bayview-Hunter’s Point, as well as parts of the Peninsula and Oakland. The station allows Urban Solutions free air time in part because they have a Western Addition office and help out local businesses, office manager JJ said.

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