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Supporting Community Development Through Local COVID-19 Relief Loan Partnership

By Nolan Scott ‘21

Flyer Consulting is a student-run organization based at the University of Dayton providing complimentary business consulting to nonprofit organizations while promoting economic growth locally and around the world. Flyer Consulting seeks to bring real-world impact, whether through nonprofit consulting, microlending, or working with entrepreneurs and community organizations. We prioritize ourselves as a program partnering experiential learning with real-world impact for minority entrepreneurs and community organizations in our mission for improving the common good.

Recently, three Flyer Consulting students (David Rueth ‘21, Nolan Scott ‘21, and Ryan Lichtefeld ‘21) were invited to participate in an emergency loan disbursement program created by the Connor Group, a national real estate investment firm out of Dayton, to help fund in-need entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19. In this program, the Connor Group has set aside $1 million dollars in 2-3 year zero-interest business loans with the goal of helping established small businesses bridge the gap created by the effects of COVID-19. 

As partners in this program, we have been able to collaborate with the Connor Group to support troubled businesses in the local community and gain valuable experiences as students. Through work interacting with loan applicants to help process them through the program and analyzing their financials to provide recommendations to the loan committee, we were able to engage in a unique experiential learning opportunity distinct from what other internships and work have to offer. Not only did this opportunity offer us the skills necessary to assess business performance, but we also were able to gain key insights into the stability entrepreneurs offer their community and the passion they have for their work. 

One of Flyer Consulting’s Managing Directors, Ryan Lichtefeld, participated in this project while also working his internship at ProBank Austin and taking summer courses. Seeing the opportunity to give back to his community, Ryan was able to apply his knowledge from Flyer Consulting’s international micro-lending program and help support this local engagement. Asked what this experience offered to him, Ryan stated:

“Aiding Larry Connor and the Connor Group in its lending program has exposed me to more business to business experience than a college student could hope for. I have been able to enhance my communication and finance analytical skills by putting what I have learned from Flyer Consulting and in the classroom to the test. The best part about the Connor Group's lending program is the overall mentality to aid as many small businesses as efficiently as possible.”

In times like today, it is crucial to support small businesses as the economic foundations of our local communities. By supporting these entrepreneurs, communities are able to retain jobs in their area and support future economic development. Having engaged with these local businesses, students begin to recognize the importance of community development initiatives and the sacrifice that local entrepreneurs make starting their own businesses.

Engaging with local businesses by walking them through the interviews and loan process, students are able to collect their stories and develop an increased understanding of the entrepreneurial mindset and the challenges that running an organization can spur. From my own perspective as President of Flyer Consulting, I was able to listen to these stories firsthand and said of this experience:

“Discussing with local entrepreneurs has really deepened my appreciation for what small businesses give to the community. Not only are they economic engines in their own right, but they are also a channel for individuals to make their own impact locally. Seeing the needs of the local community and how companies like the Connor Group respond encourages me to take on initiatives in my own involvement within the community.” 

As the Connor Group expands this loan program into the Cincinnati area, Flyer Consulting is going to be continuously engaged in supporting this project. By the end of both the Dayton and Cincinnati loan program, it is our hope that we are able to help established small businesses stave off the impact of COVID-19 and contribute to restoring stability in their communities. In the coming year as Flyer Consulting expands its micro-lending program, called Flyer Development, by establishing a student-run local microloan program in the Dayton community through the Greater West Dayton Incubator, we will be able to utilize our experiences through the Connor Group loan engagement to continue to provide impact locally. 

 


 

Nolan Scott ‘21 is pursuing a B.S. in Accounting and Management Information Systems, graduating in May of 2021. Working within the nonprofit consulting program of Flyer Consulting, Nolan has developed a passion for community development and engaging local organizations.

Ryan Lichtefeld ‘21 will graduate in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Accounting and Finance. Ryan has been in Flyer Consulting since the fall of his sophomore year and has played an integral role in the development of its international Flyer Development microloan program.

David Rueth ‘21 will graduate with majors in Accounting and Finance in May of 2021. David is a Managing Director in Flyer Consulting and is one of the pivotal students in supporting the creation of our local micro-lending program.

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