Published March 28, 2018
DOWAGIAC, MICHIGAN – Jenna Martin always had a dream. Realizing the benefits of yoga and healthy nutrition for the betterment of her community, Martin always wanted to start her own yoga studio. After many discussions with friends, hours working on business plans, and meetings with her financial institution, Chi Ishobak (pronounced Chee-ish-oh-bock), Jenna started her Hot Yoga Kenosha business in January.
“I’m am truly blessed,” says Martin. “Overall the progression of Hot Yoga Kenosha has been great! It’s a big hit and I am getting a huge response!”
As a member of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Martin utilized the expertise of Chi Ishobak, a native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Native CDFI’s were created in 1994 by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to assist Tribal Citizens with access to affordable capital for the purposes of small-business loans and individual financial development.
“Our CDFI was created as an effort of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indian tribal government in Dowagiac, Michigan” said Sean Winters, Executive Director of Chi Ishobak. “We’re here to help all tribal citizens. We were referred to Jenna by the Wisconsin Native Loan Fund, and after we spoke with her and understood her passion, we went to work.”
Chi Ishobak worked with Jenna to understand her business, develop a long range plan, and provided funding to start her Hot Yoga Kenosha Studio.
“CDFI’s often collaborate with each other for the betterment of our citizens. Jenna is a Michigan tribal member; we are only able to service Wisconsin Tribal Members at this time. We had to find a CDFI in Michigan to help”, said Janice St Germaine, Director of Lending of Wisconsin Native Loan Fund (Lac du Flambeau, WI). “We thought that Jenna’s dream matched perfectly with Chi Ishobak’s mission.”
“I worked with Chi Ishobak for financial help to finally start my own business,” said Martin. “It was a pleasure working with everyone there and they helped me so much. I look forward to working with them again in the future. I am so excited moving forward to see what the future holds. Dreams do come true!”