Dream Loan Fund

Minimizing Barriers for Neighborhood Microenterprise and Entrepreneurs

The DREAM Loan Fund (Driving Real Estate to Accelerate Microenterprise) focuses on revitalizing neighborhood business districts and minimizing barriers for neighborhood entrepreneurs.

DREAM was born out of a partnership with The Kresge Foundation. The fund targets neighborhood business districts as part of our Vision 2022 which aims to comprehensively revitalize disinvested target neighborhoods. Our Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy focuses on acquisition and rehabilitation of blighted residential properties in conjunction with redevelopment of neighborhood commercial districts with place-based, neighborhood-serving retail, arts and culture, and microenterprise.

“We’re excited to support The Port through this fund, to invest in neighborhood commercial corridors throughout the City of Cincinnati. We believe mixed-income, mixed-use communities are a platform to greater economic mobility in America’s cities by combining integrated housing strategies with neighborhood based entrepreneurship. The Port is demonstrating how coordinated investments in housing combined with smart economic development can achieve far more than either strategy could alone.” - Aaron Seybert, Social Investment Officer, Kresge Foundation

Why is it so important?

Among the program goals are:

  • Minimize barriers for neighborhood entrepreneurs by providing available space for target tenants
  • Stabilizing neighborhoods through the support of entrepreneurship
  • Restoring vibrant retail and commerce with a focus on inclusivity and engagement of neighborhood-based enterprise

Micro Tenants Make Mighty Impact in Walnut Hills

The Port made two loans in 2017 from its DREAM loan fund to help five entrepreneurs open for business in Walnut Hills.

Brick Haus 1

Impact of the DREAM Loan Fund

Through 2018

$1,035,000in loans provided

6storefronts financed

72anticipated job creation

Since launch, The Port has provided loans totaling $1,035,000 to finance tenant improvements for six new storefronts in Walnut Hills' East McMillan Street Business District. These projects will create 72 new jobs and bring over $17 million in investment.

DREAM Loan funds provide much-needed capital to projects that help nurture local microenterprise. A program goal is to identify and ready minority enterprises to participate as tenants in neighborhood business districts where The Port targets public and private investment.