On March 20, fintech startup CNote announced the launch of its new Wisdom Fund impact investing initiative in partnership with OFN members CDC Small Business Finance, Carolina Small Business Development Fund, LiftFund, TruFund, and Pacific Community Ventures.
With women receiving less than five percent of small business lending despite ranking as the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., the loan fund aims to shrink the capital investment gap for women-owned businesses, particularly for low- to moderate-income women and women of color.
"There's lots of data on how women are shut out of venture capital. We don't know as much about why women are shut out of debt capital," states Allison Kelly, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at CDC Small Business Finance. “The Wisdom Fund is an opportunity to create new debt products by working collaboratively with the women we aim to serve."
A Certified B Corporation founded by two women entrepreneurs, CNote offers CDFIs a new source of capital for borrowers through its innovative impact investing platform funded by accredited investors, including institutions, funds, foundations, family offices, and individuals.
Since launching its retail investing platform in 2017, CNote has partnered with a growing network of CDFIs covering more than 35 states to invest $18 million in underserved communities, resulting in over 2,000 jobs created or retained.
"With the Wisdom Fund, we're taking a major step toward fixing a huge injustice—women's businesses receive far less funding than they deserve," states CNote CEO and co-founder Catherine Berman. "We're working with an amazing group of nonprofit community lenders nationally to entirely rethink lending to women."
Learn more about the Wisdom Fund in CNote’s press release.