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Economic Development

The International Institute (IISTL) provides business and asset development services through our subsidiary, the II Community Development Corporation (IICDC).

Immigrant & Refugee Products

  • Business Microloans
  • Consumer Credit Builder Loans
  • Women Entrepreneur Fund (WEF)
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDA)

Services Included with Loan Products

Business & Asset Development Specialists work with clients to build a custom and timely development plan designed to achieve short- and long-term self-sufficiency goals. Topics covered in the development plan vary and can include:

  • Credit building / credit repair
  • Business Plan and Cash Flow Management
  • Business Marketing
  • Asset Building

Business Microloans

Our business loans start from as small as $500 and can go up to $35,000. Loan products vary according to funding source, each with specific rules on interest, maximum and eligibility. Special loans up to $15,000 available for qualified refugees. Business Development Specialists work with clients to develop a business plan, financial projections and business capitalization. Professional volunteers also provide expertise including law, accounting, insurance, real estate, information technology, marketing and advertising, graphic design, and general business consulting.

Patronize a Client-Owned Business

Consumer Credit Builder Loans

Our consumer credit builder loan empowers our clients to establish new, good lines of credit that improve their credit history and credit score. Clients can access a fixed amount of $750 to be repaid during a fixed 12-month term. We report all repayments to the major credit bureaus. Participants must complete a credit fitness module before accessing funds.

Women Entrepreneur Fund (WEF)

Through the use of this fund, we seeks to accelerate the pathway to success for women entrepreneurs. Participants have access to up to $1,000 in loans, termed at 6-12 months, with interest rate of 4.75% (or RIBA free). Borrowers must have at least one month of business records. After receiving their loans, program participants will participate in structured, guided business trainings and practicums.

Individual Development Accounts (IDA)

The Assets for Life IDA is a matched savings account established as a joint account between each saver and the International Institute. Savings of each eligible participant will be matched two dollars for every dollar the participant saves. Program dollars will be retained in a separate account until each participant reaches his or her goal and is ready to purchase an asset.

The program will match up to $3,000 (2:1 match rate) for savings depositing during a 30-month period eligibility. Savings from an IDA can be used to:

  • Help buy a home
  • Pay for post-secondary education or training
  • Capitalize a small business
  • Buy a personal vehicle

IDAs are made available through the United Way’s Greater St. Louis Asset-Building Collaborative.

II Community Development Corporation (IICDC)

Founded in 2007, the IICDC is a 501(c)(3) wholly owned subsidiary of the International Institute of St. Louis. The IICDC is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) of the US Dept. of the Treasury. We collaborate with other CDFIs and community organizations to connect our customers with a broad spectrum of business development services.

The IICDC shares the STL Mosaic Project’s vision of growing our region’s economy through diversity and innovation. We partner with four local banks plus the federal government to capitalize our loan fund.

Our loan products are designed with small business entrepreneurs in mind: The bulk of our loans go to restaurant owners, taxi and Uber drivers, small retail business owners, beauty salon operators, daycare providers, and those operating similar enterprises.


Nha Nguyen, Director of Economic Development
314-773-9090, ext. 133

View the IICDC Brochure for additional information