The ROCC Pod

How to Find Money for Your Business

Episode Notes

We dive into the world of small business financing on the ROCC Pod, highlighting two key programs aimed at supporting entrepreneurs. Our guests, Belinda Turner-DuBois from CEED Lending and Cathy Rasegan from the US Small Business Association, share insights into their respective lending programs designed to help small businesses access capital. 

Belinda introduces CEED Lending, a part of the Great Lakes Women's Business Council, which offers loans to businesses unable to secure traditional funding. She details the types of businesses eligible for CEED's programs, emphasizing support for startups and businesses planning to expand. CEED Lending's approach includes not just financial assistance but also mentorship and technical support to ensure businesses thrive.

Cathy discusses the SBA 504 Loan Program, explaining its focus on helping small for-profit businesses acquire fixed assets like buildings and equipment. She outlines the program's benefits, such as lower down payments and fixed interest rates, making it an attractive option for businesses looking to grow. Both guests highlight the importance of their programs in fostering economic development and supporting underserved communities.

Belinda's contact info: 248-460-3973 / Great Lakes Women's Business Council CEED Lending:

Cathy's SBA contact info: 248-858-5101 / /

Episode Transcription


Jon Gay: Welcome in to the ROCC Pod, produced for the Royal Oak Michigan Chamber of Commerce. I am Jon Gay from JAG in Detroit Podcasts.

Lisa Bibbee: I'm Lisa Bibbee, your professional real estate agent with Keller Williams Advantage.

Jon: Today we're talking about how to access capital for your small business and we have two great programs we're going to talk about. We have Belinda Turner-DuBois, Director of CEED Lending through the Great Lakes Women's Business Council, and we have Cathy Rasegan, who is the Administrator of Financial Services. She is going to talk about the US Small Business Association's 504 Loan Program. Welcome to you both.

Belinda Turner-DuBois: Thank you. Happy to be here.

Cathy Rasegan: Thank you for allowing us to be here today.

Jon: Before we dive into the money, I wanted to get to know you both a little bit personally. Belinda, is it true you drove an ice cream truck one summer during college?

Belinda: I sure did. I couldn't find a job when I came home from school and my boyfriend at the time and I, we just said, "Let's go for it." We leased a truck and we sold ice cream for the summer in Southwest Detroit and it was big fun. [chuckles]

Lisa: You actually owned the truck?

Belinda: All the banana popsicles that I wanted every day.

Jon: I think Lisa and I both just assumed that you like worked for somebody else in a college job, but you leased the actual truck.

Lisa: Yes. Absolutely.

Cathy: I would say having your own ice cream every single day would be totally worth it.

Jon: It was.

Belinda: See, because we were 19, calories didn't matter.

Cathy: Yes. Nothing matters when you're 19.

Belinda: That was a lot of fun.

Jon: Cathy, I know you're avid pickleball player. Pickleball is one of those things that I hear about all the time. I see about it all the time. I want to get involved. My wife and I are going to Hilton Head in the spring and I know it's big down there. Tell us about how you got involved in pickleball and give us the 101.

Cathy: We play modified pickleball at our family, but it was during covid I saw online where you could buy a collapsible net and we happen to have a pretty long flat driveway. For something to do, something fun, we bought that. One of our sons is very much into tennis. It was a natural. He destroys us every single time, but we've even gotten to the point now where there are some former tennis pros, McEnroe and Agassi, that have done them on ESPN matches and will even watch that. It's a it's a lot of fun.

Jon: How much athletic skill is required, honestly?

Cathy: To play my son a decent amount because he can drop shot. To play me, not too much. I would recommend if you're going to Hilton Head and you do like tennis, to try to reserve some time on a clay court because that's fun twisty thing to do with tennis down there.

Lisa: It sounds like you need to have a neighborhood competition and have Belinda show up with her ice cream truck.

Cathy: That's right, yes. Fill it with Choco Tacos, please.

Lisa: I wanted to dive in here. Tell us a little bit more. What exactly does CEED, and that spelled C-E-E-D, stand for? What is CEED Lending?

Belinda: I'm going to answer the question, but I just want to say, first of all, thanks to the Royal Oak Chamber for inviting this exchange today. Then special thanks to Jason Gittinger, who introduced us to the chamber. We're now also members of the Royal Oak Chamber. Thanks for that.

Jon: Welcome. We love Jason.

Belinda: We love him too. CEED Lending is an initiative of Great Lakes Women's Business Council. What we do is we provide access to capital to small businesses that cannot secure traditional funding. Those businesses that cannot receive funding from your bank or credit union, they come to us. We're like that gap in the ecosphere. We try to fill that gap as much as possible.

Lisa: What does CEED stand for?

Belinda: It used to stand for the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development because the name used to be the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development. Now we just say CEED Lending. Of course, again, CEED Lending is an initiative of Great Lakes Women's Business Council.

Jon: Belinda, who's eligible for CEED Lending and what's the application process look like?

Belinda: Businesses that can be startup businesses, something under a year old, or businesses that are looking to expand, they need to buy equipment, machinery, inventory, and they're looking at some expansion. That would be a customer for us. We cover nine counties in Southeast Michigan. That's our footprint. You have to be in one of our counties, one of our nine counties in order for us to help you. Our counties are listed on our website, of course, which is

We are really looking for those businesses, again, that can't secure traditional funding. A lot of them are startups less than a year old. Again, they've gone to a bank or credit union. They've done all the bootstrapping that they can do. Now they need some funding and they come to us. Those, again, are businesses that can be startup or existing. We're looking to help them with the purchase of inventory, equipment, machinery, and some working capital.

Lisa: Belinda, what is the maximum that you can apply for through CEED Lending?

Belinda: CEED Lending has three loan programs at this time. We are an SBA microlender and that is up to $50,000. We also have the LIFT program, L-I-F-T, which is a little bit more flexible than the microloan program. That goes up to $75,000. Then the Revolving Loan Fund, that's the Oakland County Revolving Loan Fund. That is from $50,000 to $200,000. I really want to talk a lot about that program today because it is Oakland County's best-kept secret.

We are looking for businesses that could use those dollars. It's a $4 million loan fund. We have a lot of money to get out into the streets. The focus of that program is minority business owners. African-American business owners, women business owners, and businesses that are located in underserved areas within Oakland County. Underserved areas could be part of Southfield, Madison Heights, Pontiac, Royal Oak, Ferndale. That's what the program has a focus on. We invite anyone in Oakland County to apply. It has to be a for-profit business. No non-profits. It has to be a for-profit business.

Jon: Belinda, do you have any success stories? Obviously, we don't want to mention any names or betray anybody's confidence, but any success stories of businesses you've helped through this program so far?

Belinda: We certainly do. We're excited about the loans that we've closed so far. We do want to increase that number. We just closed a loan earlier this year and it is a cool restaurant in Berkeley. If you go to Berkeley and you eat at a restaurant, it might be one that we helped. I'm just saying. [chuckles]

Lisa: Real quick, Belinda, too, I also saw that you have mentorship programs because I think a lot of people getting their business off the ground are a bit overwhelmed. I see that you guys offer mentorship. Can you touch a little bit about that?

Belinda: Absolutely. Again, as a microlender, we do provide technical assistance to our business owners. We provide pre-business assistance, pre-loan assistance rather, and post-loan assistance. If a business owner comes to us and maybe they're just not quite there yet. They need some help understanding their cash flow or putting the cash flow together, we could help them do that and then get that loan application on the road. Then once that loan closes, we are with them until that loan is paid off. We become like the silent partner in the business. They contact us for their ups, their downs, and we try and make sure that we are with them.

We provide services like, again, understanding cash flow, helping them with marketing. We had a program a couple of years ago where we helped businesses with their website. We actually paid for websites. That's what we do. We look at loan money and hope you're going to pay it back. We look and help you pay it back by providing those services to you. That's phenomenal.

Jon: Let's flip it over to Cathy. I know your specialty with the Small Business Association is this 504 loan product. Can you walk us through what that loan product is and the application process and all that?

Cathy: Sure. The Small Business Administration is, obviously, a federal entity and this is a program that they came up with called the SBA 504 that helps small for-profit businesses, same thing for profit, with the acquisition of fixed assets. That would be building and substantial equipment with a long, useful life. The program is a direct loan to the end user, the borrower of the company, but it's also a partnership with their bank or credit union.

What happens is you've got a company, let's say that restaurant in Berkeley is getting ready to actually purchase the real estate that they've been in. We partner up with their bank to get them a fixed rate for 20 to 25 years and reduce their down payment to 10%. Normal conventional financing would want at least 20% down. When you involve us with a 504, the bank lends 50%, I do 40% and the business typically is at 10%.

Lisa: That's phenomenal.

Cathy: A couple of other things, it does have to be owner-occupied, so we don't do investment real estate.

Lisa: Can you talk to us a little bit more about the possible use of the funds they receive?

Cathy: It can be the purchase of the building. It could be a new build and it can have renovations in there too, all wrapped in together and split 50%-40%-10%.

Jon: Cathy, what are the eligibility criteria for this program?

Cathy: Again, for-profit is the number one. Owner-occupied, so no investment real estate. Then the business, there are some net worth limitations so that I'm not doing loans to Microsoft or Bill Gates because it is the Small Business Administration. Our project sizes typically are $200,000, but up into the multi-millions. We've done a $14 million project. I did a small percentage of it, but still. Then we've done smaller projects. A sample of a smaller one is actually a Royal Oak deal that we did. Again, I won't say the name either, only because I didn't get permission from them.

Jon: Sure.

Cathy: They acquired a property. It needed some rehab, some renovations to make it work for their professional organization use. They bought the building for $500,000, renovated it for $90,000, for a total project of $590,000. The bank financed 50% of that. Then the SBA did 40% with a 25-year loan. Once their rate was set, it was fixed for the 25 years. It's a set it, forget it. Never have to renegotiate or anything like that, reappraise.

Jon: What I'm really happy about with this conversation with both of you today is with the Royal Oak Chamber, we support businesses. We support local businesses. A lot of times, I'll speak as someone who started my business five years ago, you don't know what you don't know. That's what's so great about the Chamber is sharing of information. Today, we've covered two great resources for capital. As you start your business or as you grow your business, sometimes you need access to capital. To Belinda's point, you may not get approved for a loan through a bank.

To Cathy's point, all the stuff with the Small Business Administration, there are so many resources that are available, two of which we've just covered today again, but also through the Royal Oak Chamber. That's why it's so important to get involved with the Chamber and talk to different folks within the Chamber so that you can learn all that's available to you in terms of resources and not just the financial.

Cathy: It's so true. It's for the strength of the business, the strength of the community as well, because both Belinda's program and mine really are economic development focused. That can mean everything from adding to the tax base, creating jobs, retaining jobs, all of the things that matter to you as a Chamber matter to us in these programs.

Lisa: Cathy, does your loan also offer mentorship programs for somebody who is looking to grow and expand their business? Whether or not that equipment that they're looking to purchase is going to be a worthwhile asset to their business? Do you guide them through that process?

Jon: We definitely get the phone calls, right? We'll get anything that comes in the door from a pure startup to somebody who's been leasing for 10 years and is ready to buy. Obviously, he or she might not need the same guidance as that initial phone call. We do our best to triage that. Then it might be something where I say, "Here's what you need. CEED offers this program or CEED offers this training.

There are other organizations in the state as well that offer, like the SBDC has some training, SCORE." We do our best to help triage them because you get a phone call in and it is somebody looking for help. Rather than just say, I can't do that, we like to tell them, I can't do that. Maybe you're not ready. Here's a resource that can help you get ready. That's what we like to do is offer that to calls that come in.

Jon: I think it's great that the two of you can work together and refer business owners to each other, which is fantastic. Before we let you go, it is time for our fishbowl question of the day where we ask you a totally random question that you're not prepared for. They both look like deer in headlights right now. Lisa, would you please pull today's fishbowl question of the day?

Lisa: All right, Cathy, let's start with you. What is the weirdest thing that you've ever eaten?

Cathy: Oh, we are in a fishbowl, so I'm going to go with calamari. I have what my former boss used to refer to as a childlike palate and was out on a date and said, "I'll go ahead and try the calamari that he ordered." I now have a rule that if I have to chew it for over 5 to 10 minutes, it's not for me. I'm going to go with calamari.

Lisa: Belinda, we're going to throw that question your way. What is the weirdest thing that you've ever eaten?

Belinda: I don't know if you'd call it weird, but I do not like okra. It's hairy and it's--

Lisa: Slimy.

Belinda: Yes, it's gross. I was actually punished as a kid. I had to sit at the table for half an hour because I refused to eat it. We couldn't leave the table if there was food still on the plate, and that okra was still there.

Lisa: I can see now how after the aversion to okra, you went the opposite direction to the ice cream truck.

Belinda: That's right. I love popsicles all day.


Jon: I'm with you, Belinda. I lived in New Orleans for three years and that's the only vegetable you can find in New Orleans. No thank you. No thank you at all.

Lisa: They say if you cook it right, you can eat it. I have never had that cooked properly where I wanted to consume it.

Belinda: That's not true.

Cathy: I'm going to hand that to my no-go list now too.

Lisa: Yes.

Jon: I guess you're going to turn on the calamari okra plate then, Cathy.

Lisa: Thank you guys for joining us today, and do you want to give the listeners the best way they can reach you?

Jon: Cathy, we'll start with you and your program.

Cathy: The best way to reach me is by phone, 248-858-5101, and that's my direct line. That e-mail is Our website is

Lisa: Belinda, about the CEED Lending with the Great Lakes Women's Council?

Belinda: Yes, absolutely. I'm going to give my direct number, which is area 248-460-3973, and that is my direct line. I also encourage folks to visit our website at and there's information about our various loan programs. Any upcoming events would be on the website as well. There's also a form that you can just fill out online and hit the 'enter' button. It goes directly to me or someone on my team and we will give you a response within 48 hours. We'll connect back with you to answer any questions about lending and perhaps get you in our pipeline.

Lisa: Thank you guys so much for joining us. If you as a listener are thinking about starting or growing your business, definitely tap into these amazing resources that we have for our local community. My name is Lisa Bibbee and I'm a realtor with Keller Williams Advantage. I put the real back in realtor. We want you to love where you live. Questions about buying or selling? Call today. My website is and you can find me on YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram @soldbylisab.

Jon: I am Jon Gay from JAG in Detroit Podcasts. I'm the podcast guy. If you like the way this show sounds, want me to help you create a podcast for your business or your entity, you can find me online at Always happy to answer any questions about podcasting as well.


Jon: Thank you for listening to this episode of The ROCC Pod. It's produced for the Royal Oak Michigan Chamber of Commerce. For more information about Chamber events and how to get involved with the Chamber, you can visit Thanks, everyone.


[00:18:46] [END OF AUDIO]