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Self-Help helps, but only those who help themselves (access required)

By Bea Quirk About two years ago, Jacqueline Hargette wanted to open a day care center, but her lack of business experience and weak credit history meant no bank would grant her a startup loan. Her accountant recommended she turn to the Center for Community Self-Help, a nonprofit that for 25 years has helped strengthen low-income Charlotte communities by lending to people and businesses. Hargette learned that although Self-Help’s criteria for lending may not be as stringent as those of traditional banks, it does insist borrowers have well-researched, practical plans that will enable them to pay off the loan. “I had to prove myself, and it was long process,” Hargette said. “I had to keep knocking down obstacles. There were days I felt so stressful, I wanted to pull my hair out. But I would gladly do it all over again.  By doing everything by the book, I have been successful.”

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