Wells Fargo announced another new boost to diverse small businesses today with $7.9 million in grants from its Diverse Community Capital program, which offers capital and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). To date, the program has generated more than 103,000 jobs across the U.S.
“Small businesses are experiencing a time of rapid growth, but entrepreneurs are still struggling to reach their full potential,” said Jon R. Campbell, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “By working with CDFIs, we can fund efforts on the ground that remove barriers, expand highly personalized coaching and put more small businesses on a path to succeed, especially in underserved communities. Every community needs small businesses to create jobs and financial stability.”
As part of its new philanthropic strategy announced in June, Wells Fargo is focusing on three societal challenges: housing affordability, small business growth and financial health. Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program is a critical component of the small business strategy and supports business owners who are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Pacific Islander, Asian-American, women, veterans, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.
Launched in 2015, the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program is a collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). According to OFN’s latest report, DCC awardees have already made more than 16,000 loans to diverse small business owners resulting in $785 million in lending across 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In addition, grant funding has provided for more than 322,000 hours of development services for over 49,000 diverse entrepreneurs. Wells Fargo is on track to invest more than $175 million in diverse small business growth through 2020.
“The DCC program plays a critically important role in helping to strengthen economic mobility for diverse entrepreneurs around the nation,” said Donna Fabiani, OFN’s Executive Vice President of Knowledge Sharing. “These businesses in turn create employment opportunities in their communities. We’re proud to continue our longstanding partnership with Wells Fargo to ensure capital and capacity building resources flow to the small businesses that need them most.”
The newest DCC grantees, funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, are:
- Accion, serving Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, Calif. ($300,000): to expand access to capital for Hispanic and African-American small business owners across the counties it serves, including more support for its successful Rapid Loan product.
- African Development Center, Minneapolis ($500,000): to expand loans and entrepreneurial training to more African immigrants and refugees in a new location in St. Cloud.
- BBIF, Orlando, Fla. ($500,000): to create a Construction Assistance Incubator Center that propels minority entrepreneurs in the booming construction industry, especially around Jacksonville and Orlando.
- Business Center for New Americans, New York ($500,000): to increase lending to new Americans, expand a pilot Line of Credit loan product, and provide financial management coaching for minority, women and immigrant entrepreneurs.
- California Farmlink, Aptos, Calif. ($500,000): to increase services for farmers of color through loan capital, one-on-one technical assistance and exploration of new business models over the next three years, including a wealth-building program for farmers and ranchers.
- Coastal Enterprises, Brunswick, Maine ($300,000): to provide access to capital and financial counseling for business owners who are women, immigrants, and people of color and to expand successful Portland, Maine-based programming to more rural parts of the state.
- Community Vision Capital & Consulting, San Francisco ($250,000): to support the launch of a new loan fund, in collaboration with six local nonprofits, to bring lending to historically underinvested businesses and more employment opportunities in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
- ECDC Enterprise Development Group, Arlington, Va. ($450,000):to build momentum with Hispanic and African-American small business owners, particularly in the Baltimore area, through lending and personalized technical assistance.
- FINANTA, Philadelphia ($425,000):to expand its Affinity Group Lending model to four states — Alabama, California, Missouri and Nebraska — benefiting up to 80 new diverse small business borrowers over the next two years. Through its model, FINANTA also anticipates helping up to 450 entrepreneurs in Philadelphia over the same time period.
- Latino Economic Development Center, Washington, D.C. ($500,000): to support the creation of approximately 300 businesses and the retention of 1,500 jobs over the next three years across the Greater Washington, D.C., area as well as Baltimore and Puerto Rico.
- Natural Capital Investment Fund, Shepherdstown, W.Va. ($500,000): to drive success for diverse entrepreneurs in successful, high-impact industries such as farming, healthcare and daycare, including a focus on cultivating a network of women-owned small businesses.
- Nebraska Enterprise Fund, Oakland, Neb. ($225,000): to grow the success rate of diverse business owners with more coaching around business challenges and performance during the loan process and greater access to management tools.
- Northern Initiatives, Marquette, Mich. ($500,000): to increase the number of diverse borrowers who have access to small business training and to improve Initiate, an online bilingual business education portal.
- Pacific Community Ventures, Oakland, Calif. ($500,000): to expand lending and coaching for underserved entrepreneurs by offering more help during the underwriting process, strategic guidance and problem-solving around financial challenges.
- Propel Nonprofits, Minneapolis ($500,000): to deploy patient capital with three-to-five-year loans and technical assistance for diverse nonprofits in the Twin Cities metro area, working to stabilize organizations serving the community.
- South Carolina Community Loan, Charleston, S.C. ($500,000): to engage in lending, technical assistance and community relationship-building with historically underserved small business owners as a way to stimulate local economic growth and jobs.
- Working Solutions, San Francisco ($450,000): to infuse new capital into small businesses serving communities of color across San Francisco.
- WWBIC, Milwaukee ($500,000): to establish an entrepreneur accelerator program in Milwaukee, extend lending and small business counseling and help shorten the turnaround time on loan processing.