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(W)inner City

When it comes to untapped entrepreneurial potential, the city's where it's at.

By C.J. Prince

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The battle for businesses seeking funding to brave the inner city may still be uphill, but it's not as steep a climb as it once was. Encouraged by the revitalization of once-stagnant neighborhoods such as New York City's Harlem, more small businesses have been seeking and getting buy-in.

Oliver Wesson is president and CEO of The Retail Initiative Inc. in New York City, a nonprofit real estate investment vehicle that helps inner-city retailers get high-quality facilities. Wesson helped finance some of the first chain stores that ultimately became anchors for dozens of small businesses now lining Harlem's busy streets-and he remembers when businesses wouldn't dare set up shop there. "It's easier today," he says of getting funding for inner-city projects. "We've got some success stories now. Banks are more interested in lending than they were 10 years ago."

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