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Alternative Funding Options in Northeast Ohio

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Dora Rankin
Honeycomb Credit, Cleveland City Manager

After spending 20+ years in retail and business banking Dora stepped away and began consulting the small business ecosystem in Cleveland. 

She witnessed there's a huge funding gap for Main Street locally owned small businesses throughout Cleveland and beyond. She has since joined Honeycomb Credit, a Pittsburgh based debt crowdfunding company to launch the community capital movement throughout the United States. 

Honeycomb Credit unlocks growth opportunities for small businesses to build vibrant, financially empowered communities.

Jeff Clawson
Growth Opportunity Partners, Chief Credit Officer

Jeff is Chief Credit Officer at Growth Opportunity Partners, Inc.  A Northeast Ohio native with 25 years of experience lending to small businesses.

As Chief Credit Officer Jeff is responsible for credit policy, operating procedures, and day to day underwriting.  He also takes an active role in the business development and qualification of prospective clients to determine their alignment with the mission of Growth Opportunity Partners.

Before joining Growth Opportunity Partners Jeff was as a Senior Credit Officer at KeyBank in Brooklyn, Ohio.  In this position Jeff had responsibility for managing small business loans throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana.

Katy Fuerst
Hebrew Free Loan Association, Director of Programming and Community Engagement

Katy Fuerst joined HFLA of Northeast Ohio in 2016 and currently serves as the Director of Programming and Community Engagement. She is a Certified Financial Counselor and is passionate about financial empowerment, racial equality, and wealth building for all members of our community. 

Prior to joining HFLA, Katy worked in foreclosure prevention efforts and home-ownership counseling at CHN Housing Partners and in workforce development at El Barrio. She holds a Bachelor's of Arts in Sociology from Cleveland State University and will graduate with her Master's of Nonprofit Administration from John Carroll University in May. Katy volunteers with Golden Treasures Golden Retriever Rescue and enjoys spending time exploring the outdoors with her family in her spare time. 

B. Fae Harris
National Development Council, Consultant, Cleveland Market

B. Fae Harris is the Cleveland market Multicultural Community Impact Team Member for National Development Council (NDC). Since 1969, NDC has been on a mission to create jobs through small business lending, advance livable communities with social infrastructure investment, and build capacity with hands-on technical assistance to local governments. Fae’s role centers on cultivating relationships within the economic development ecosystem to help women and minority-owned businesses grow and expand. 

Fae specializes in bringing high-performance products to market.  Over the past 15 years, she’s worked with global industry players such as L’Oreal, Kao Brands and Conair Professional Products.  Her brand management experience spans from entrepreneurial to established global brands with multi-million-dollar portfolios. 

Fae is a Boston native with a Bachelor of Science degree from Babson College.  She also holds a dual Master’s degree in Business Administration and Information Age Marketing from Bentley University. 

Michael Elliott
Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Director of Neighborhood Economic Development

Michael   R   Elliott   is   an   accomplished   and   highly motivated professional with over 15 years of combined multi-sector experience. As the Director of Neighborhood Economic Development for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Michael is responsible for advancing CNP’s economic development agenda by working in partnership with Cleveland’s community development corporations and small business ecosystem partners to identify and leverage Greater Cleveland’s assets to foster economic mobility for both residents and small businesses within the City of Cleveland.

Prior to joining CNP, Michael served as Program Manager for both the National Development Council and the City of Cleveland’s Department of Economic Development. Within these roles, Michael worked with small businesses to identify and assess their readiness for lending capital and was instrumental in leading local and national small business development initiatives that helped to build capacity among organizations focused on assisting small businesses.

Michael is a two-time graduate of Cleveland State University's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs receiving his B.A. in Nonprofit Administration and his M.P.A in Public Administration. He is also certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional with the National Development Council and is a proud Cleveland Foundation SIP alumnus.

Hear from some of Northeast Ohio's leading investment and lending experts about opportunities to raise capital and grow your business, no matter how big or small.