Small Business Leader Award

  • Rewarding accelerated growth and excellence in small business lending.



The Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders (SBLA) recognizes innovation and growth in mission, impact, and financial sustainability among mission-driven small business lenders. The national award rewards excellence, builds broad-based recognition, and creates momentum among CDFIs and other mission-driven lenders.

This year, multiple awardees will be selected from a special group of small business lenders: the members of the Small Business Finance Collaborative who have worked together over the past two years to develop and implement ambitious growth plans for small business lending. The 2016 awards will highlight the best among these winning strategies for growth, impact, and innovation.

The awardees will be named at the 2016 OFN Conference in Atlanta, October 24-27.

The SBLA is a collaboration among Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation, and OFN. Contact for more information.


The Small Business Leader Award Selection Committee will work together to assess the qualifications and merits of the nominees relative to the selection criteria, and select the 2016 award recipients. The members of the 2016 Selection Committee are:

  • Phillip Henderson, President, Surdna Foundation
  • Dan Nissenbaum, Managing Director, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs
  • Donna Gambrell, Consultant and former Director of the CDFI Fund
  • Patricia Green, Paul T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies, Babson College
  • Noel Poyo, Executive Director, National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB)
  • Fran Lutz, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)


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2015 SBLA Winner

On November 11, 2015, at the OFN Annual Conference in Detroit, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation, and OFN awarded a $50,000 SBLA grant to Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda). The SBLA selected the CDFI for its proven track record of helping entrepreneurs of color grow and create jobs.

Also at the Conference, the two SBLA finalists—Pathway Lending and PIDC Community Capital—received recognition for their growth-driven small business lending programs. Like the winner, both finalists demonstrated excellence in financial sustainability (financial performance and asset quality), as well as mission and impact.

2014 SBLA Winners

On October 16, 2014, at the OFN Annual Conference in Denver, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation, and OFN awarded the first SBLA grants. Totaling $100,000, the grants went to two mission-driven financial institutions for excellence in small business lending.

The New York Business Development Corporation, the first-place winner, won $75,000 for the breadth and depth of its small business lending activities in New York. Opportunity Fund, the runner-up, won $25,000 in recognition of its innovative small business lending products in California.

Also at the Conference, the two finalists—Business & Community Lenders of Texas and Bridgeway Capital—received recognition for their innovative small business lending programs.

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