Burundi Star Coffee owner Jocelyne Kamikazi and her husband André Nzeyimana grace the cover of the latest issue of Mainebiz. They’re featured in an article about a microloan program that is helping immigrant owned businesses in Maine.
The loan she secured from Portland-based cPort Credit Union is underwritten by the Indus Fund, a new microloan program for small business owners in Maine’s growing immigrant community. Kamikazi was able to borrow the money at a much lower interest rate than the $44,000 bank loan she used to start her business and still has to repay, since all Indus Fund loans have a fixed rate of 3.5% and a maturity of five years.
With close to $300,000 raised from 14 individual and corporate investors, the Indus Fund is touted as Maine’s first and only immigrant-specific microfinance loan program connected to the existing banking system. The goal is to break down barriers for immigrants who might otherwise be shut out of traditional bank financing.
Other Portland food businesses featured in the article are Mimio’s Boutique owned by Mimie Mobesha from the Congo, and Maiz co-owned by Niky Watler from Colombia.