Micro-Entrepreneur Pro Bono Program

VLSP and City of Rochester’s KIVA Lending Program
The City of Rochester has launched KIVA, a micro-lending program at zero percent interest. VLSP is proud to partner with the City and serve as Trustee for this program. VLSP will refer and endorse eligible VLSP micro-entrepreneur Pro Bono Program clients for a KIVA loan.
Please see information below on VLSP’s Micro-entrepreneur Pro Bono Program.
Micro-Entrepreneur Pro Bono Project

What is the Micro-entrepreneur Pro Bono Project?
Micro-entrepreneur Pro Bono Project (MPBP) is a program of Volunteer Legal Services Project, which has been assisting low income residents of Monroe County since 1981. MPBP provides pro bono (free) legal assistance to low income individuals who wish to start or develop businesses in economically distressed neighborhoods, through representation by transactional attorneys. Clients who generally would not have access to specialized legal services may be matched with transactional attorneys.

Purpose:
Microenterprise development is a community economic development and antipoverty tool designed to create jobs, promote economic growth, increase social stability and generally assist low income individuals who desire to improve their own economic well-being.

Legal Services Available:
MPBP provides pro bono legal assistance to entrepreneurs on issues including, but not limited to: Choice of Entity, Contracts, Licenses or Permits, Intellectual property, Taxes, Insurance, Bonds; and other issues that may concern the business, such as immigration and employment.

Who Is Eligible For MPBP Legal Services?
Small business owners and micro-entrepreneurs are eligible for pro bono legal assistance if 
• the business is located in an economically distressed area of Monroe County and 
• The applicant meets our eligibility guidelines, including income eligibility. For this reason, please include your income at the appropriate place on the application and enclose tax returns for the two most recent years.

How MPBP Matches Entrepreneurs with Pro Bono Attorneys:
The following procedures are taken once an application (with supporting documents including a business plan) 
​has been submitted by a potential client:
• The applicant will be notified to schedule an intake meeting or informed that that the business is not eligible.
• If the applicant is approved by VLSP’s Executive Director, MPBP will contact the panel of volunteer business attorneys.
• If a volunteer attorney accepts the matter, the client will be notified to contact the attorney.
• The volunteer attorney handles the representation of the client for the discrete business law matter identified at the initial meeting.
• The legal services are provided free of charge, but any filing fees need to be borne by the client.
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