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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).

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.

IICDC line of credit lenders are Carrolton bank, Midwest bank, PNC Bank.

Immigrant & Refugee Products

  • Business Microloans
  • Business Riba Free Loans
  • Consumer Credit Builder Loans
  • Immigration Loans
  • ASSET Program
  • Financial Literacy Classes
  • Tax Clinic
  • Free tax preparation during tax season only (Feb. – April)

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.

Request more information about Business Microloans

Business Riba Free Loans (Interest Free Loan)

IICDC highly committed to help and support immigrants or refugees to establish their business according to their religious believes therefore, we offer Riba-Free loans (non-interest) to those who prefers Shariah loans (Islamic Loans). The Riba-Free loans are available to serve business needs – the procedure and compliance has been approved by Shariah scholar. Thus, the sole objective of Riba-Free loans is to serve the demand of Immigrants or refugees who are not convinced of conventional finance and seeking Riba-Free loan to establish or expand their business based on the religious believes.

Request more information about Business Riba Free Loans

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.

Request more information about Consumer Credit Builder Loans

Immigration Loans

We offer citizenship loans to help customers with immigration needs such as family reunification, citizenship, permanent residency, or employment authorization renewal applications and administration preparation fees for qualified applicants. This is up to $3,000 loan per family with repayment terms of 24 months (about 2 years).

Request more information about Immigration Loans

Afghan Community Entrepreneurship Fund (ACEF)

We are pleased to announce that “ACEF- Afghan Community Entrepreneurship Fund” has been officially launched to assist refugees and immigrants from Afghanistan to start, strengthen and expand their businesses. ACEF is non-refundable fund (grant) allocated to Afghan community development, this fund is available to financially support Afghan entrepreneurs to develop businesses and create employment for new refugees and immigrants. This program will initially serve only 10 applicants with $15,000 each – applicants who meet criteria (see below) and submit a feasible business plan will be shortlisted.

The deadline for application submission is July 31st, 2022 – Please, encourage your family and friends to apply for this non-refundable business development fund. See criteria bellow,


  • Only Afghan refugees, immigrants, asylees, green card holders and parole are eligible.
  • Afghans who have been living in the United States for less than 1 year are qualified.
  • The main objective is to develop Afghans businesses thus, the grant application with purpose of start-ups, strengthen or business expansion will be eligible (Start-up business 7, Business Expansion 3).
  • The objective of the grant is to support different families therefore, one potential household member will be shortlisted at time.
  • The applicant’s business must be located in Saint Louis city or counties – city is preferred.


  1. Business License, Business entity & EIN
  2. Detailed Business plan including financial statements
  3. Information about business location


The application will be reviewed by IICDC department, and all decision will be taken based on set criteria by Afghan chambers of commerce, the grants will be disbursed in control manner to vender or third parity to ensure the proper use of funds.

Online Application form (deadline: July 31, 2022)

Tax Clinic

Join lawyers and law students from Washington University’s Low Income Taxpayer clinic as they answer your questions and concerns about taxes. These are held every other month via Zoom, and each session will be focused on a specific topic. Examples include how to apply for the Child Tax Credit, an overview of why it is important to file your taxes, and the difference between W2, Schedule C, and 1099 forms. The Tax Clinic website is Clients can also be referred to one-on-one assistance with tax return issues, after their return has been filed.

This is not a clinic to help you file your taxes, this is only about questions related to tax issues.

Request more information about the Tax Clinic

Free tax preparation during tax season only (Feb-April)

Available for IISTL clients, immigrants, refugees, low moderate-income households, and senior citizens. Hosted by AARP.

We schedule appointment and answer your phone call during tax season only.