Blinking, I could feel the dryness of my eyes. Staring at the screen for hours, I scrolled through the loan data excel sheet one more time and quickly drew down the cases that needed to be reviewed.
My teammate and I have been working on this loan data cleaning project for the past week. Frankly, data transferring is not the most exciting project – it could be quite repetitive. Yet, we were hyper-focus to ensure the accuracy of all data points. Not only because those data contain sensitive information about our clients, but furthermore we understand how these individual loan cases could play an important role to ProsperUs and Detroit.
ProsperUs is a community economic development organization in Detroit. It strives to achieve economic equity in under-resourced communities by providing opportunities and capital to entrepreneurs. Specifically, ProsperUs supports local entrepreneurs with entrepreneurship training, business services, and microlending. The data cleaning project we are working on feeds into the work of the microlending team. Using those lending data, we will be able to assist the team to generate impact reports and apply for federal grants and private funds. Those funds then will be lent to current owners to expand their business and to aspired entrepreneurs to achieve their business dream. Particularly, searching for employment could be a daunting task for returning citizens, and the microloan from ProsperUs can provide them with new opportunities.
ProsperUs not only helps residents to start their business adventure but also offers continuous support throughout their entrepreneurship. The organization check-in with past program graduates through a longitudinal survey. By tracking the growth of their business, ProsperUs can offer additional support for the graduates and better current programs. My teammate and I are also working on developing the longitudinal survey. We aim to collect comprehensive measurements for determining business growth and program improvements. With the data collected, we will also be able to create an interactive business directory. The business directory includes identifying information such as minority-owned and women-owned. It allows the entrepreneurs to build affinity groups and support each other. It also helps to increase the exposure of these businesses in the community.
This year marks ProsperUs’s 10th anniversary of supporting entrepreneurs and the local community. I am honored to be a part of the organization and am excited to continue my impact with ProsperUs.