Funding the Greater Seattle Community

Einstein once said, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

a photo of undergraduate student, Spriha Kejriwal, '22

Spriha Kejriwal, ’22

This could not have been truer than this year.

This quarter I had the chance to intern at the UW Consulting and Business Development Center (CBDC) as their Student Lending intern in collaboration with Harborstone Credit Union. During this period, I was provided with the opportunity to connect with over 200 small businesses in the Greater Seattle Area and make an impact at a time when many businesses had encountered an unexpected challenge at the start of the pandemic. Not only was I able to play a part in helping these businesses expand, but I was fortunate enough to grow as a professional and as a person. After all, challenges can inspire growth and innovation.

At the beginning of my internship, Harborstone Credit Union and the UW CBDC held a month-long training session where I learned everything there is about the lending process. I gained an understanding about the 5 C’s of credit, marketing mix, life cycle of a business, and cash flow analysis. While these concepts were taught theoretically, I also had the opportunity to gain practical knowledge such as how to maintain and manage client relationships, email marketing through the use of HubSpot and understand the workings of small businesses. I met with several Harborstone representatives and worked closely with them to polish my marketing skills and draft emails for initial client outreach. However, this year reaching out to businesses was taken a step further as we were challenged to call business owners after reaching out to them via email. Initially uncomfortable, I found this task to be very daunting. However, I believed that by stepping out of my comfort zone, I could transition into the next phase of my learning experience. I got over my initial hesitation and can now confidently initiate conversations in unfamiliar situations. The result: I was able to get multiple businesses interested in Harborstone and its various financial offerings. We are currently wrapping up our assessment meetings with the intention of moving ahead with the processing of loan applications.

Now that the quarter has ended, I am taking lessons learned through this internship to heart and applying these skill sets in other areas of my life. The first few months of this internship have been a great learning experience and an excellent opportunity for me to polish my networking skills as well. I look forward to my journey ahead with the UW CBDC and what it brings.

– Spriha Kejriwal, ’22