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Published: Thursday, 4/10/2003

Business-minded Toledo youths lining up for loan program

Markesha Kennedy, 13, plans to go into business setting hair, and needs money to buy hair-care products, weaves, a chair, and plastic bibs.

Nate Masternak, 18, and Ben Miller, 17, plan to start a business painting murals on neglected buildings and graffiti-covered landmarks.

Those three, and others likely to step forward, were introduced yesterday as candidates for the 2003 youth entrepreneurship program founded by Mayor Jack Ford.

Mr. Ford yesterday accepted a donation of $20,000 from the DaimlerChrysler Corporate Fund. He said more than $70,000 in private contributions have been made.

The program provides loans averaging $700 to youths to start their own business. Last year, 18 youths received loans, mostly to buy lawnmowers. More than 170 youths have signed up for the first of six orientation sessions.

The mayor said Common Space, the Toledo Botanical Garden, and Greater Toledo Chapter of the American Red Cross are assisting with business opportunities.

“We want young folks to have a fruitful spring, summer, and fall and earn money by going into business for themselves,” Mr. Ford said.

Miss Kennedy, a student at the Toledo Academy of Learning, said she tried hairdressing after seeing family members do it.

“I love doing hair. I know how to do the designs and stuff,” she said.

Mr. Masternak, who is home-schooled, and Mr. Miller, a student at Central Catholic High School, said they have several other partners. They plan to buy paint and brushes, mostly.

In addition to DaimlerChrysler, the administration said it has received grants of $13,500 from the Walter E. Terhune Memorial Trust Fund, $25,100 from anonymous donors, $700 from two individuals, and commitments of $2,000 each from eight companies.

The Saturday orientation sessions will be held in Toledo City Council chambers from 10 a.m. to noon, April 19, May 17, June 21, July 19, Aug. 16, and Sept. 6.

To qualify for the loans, young entrepreneurs must attend one of the orientation sessions, then a week-long training session. The four-hour training sessions are:

w April 21-25, East Toledo Family Center, 1020 Varland Ave.

w May 19-23, Grace Community Center, 405 West Delaware Ave.

w June 9-13, Adelante, Inc., 520 Broadway.

w June 23-27, Whitmer High School, 5601 Clegg Dr.

w July 7-11, Common Space, 1700 North Reynolds Rd.

w July 21-25, at a site to be determined.



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