Photo by Nick Romanenko

The Intersect Fund was established in 2009 when Co-Founders Rohan Mathew and Joe Shure were students at Rutger’s University in New Brunswick, N.J. The two noticed that while new hotels, restaurants and high-rise apartments dotted the skyline of their college town, there were also a lot of low-income residents struggling to make ends meet. These were often the busboys and dishwashers in the upscale businesses downtown, but they had little to show for the econoimc revitalization they helped bring about. They were immigrants working in factories through temp agencies, longtime residents left unemployed by recession, and a host of others who have the drive but lack the luck to succeed.

In thinking about how university students could help these people, Mathew and Shure found that many of them run small businesses on the side as a way to generate extra income. It became clear that although many of these low-income entrepreneurs have quality business ideas and a lot of motivation, they often lack the business knowledge and seed capital they need to get the most out of their enterprises. Driven by this desire to bring the campus to the community, the Intersect Fund, a college-student run nonprofit providing financial services, was created.

From its humble beginnings of being conceived in a dorm room, the Intersect Fund has grown to become the largest and fastest growing micro-lender in the state of New Jersey, providing more than $1.85 million in funding to low-income entrepreneurs across a 10-county region of New Jersey.