Round Three of the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program opens today!

Launched last fall, the Diverse Community Capital program is a three-year initiative that will provide $75 million in grants and lending capital to CDFIs that serve diverse-owned small businesses. The program also provides social capital programs to help CDFIs increase their capacity to lend to diverse small businesses, including knowledge networks, consulting, and other collaborative efforts.

Interested CDFIs can attend an information call on November 9, and are invited to submit an Interest Form by December 1.

To date there have been 18 awardees and small businesses across the country are already feeling the impact of DCC.Two examples are:

Pacific Community Ventures, Oakland, CA:

Chef Reign Free, of Red Door Catering, has called the kitchen her home since she was nine, when she first watched her mother cooking traditional West Indian dishes for her family. As an entrepreneur today, Reign pushes to continually improve Red Door Catering’s customer service, community consciousness, and innovative cuisine.

However, when Reign and her partner Steve Rubin were ready to grow the business, they found it difficult to access capital. Although the business had been in operation for years, it was not a full-time venture. Fortunately, Reign was referred to Pacific Community Ventures (PCV). 

PCV connected Reign to free mentoring through PCV’s BusinessAdvising.org program. Reign gained financial coaching to help her with financial record keeping, as well as loan applications. In addition, she secured a loan from PCV, which has not only helped her reach a larger customer base but also bring on 10 new staff members.

Working with Reign was a no brainer for PCV. Red Door Catering is a business that not only supports other local businesses by sourcing ingredients from local farmers and producers, but it’s also deeply invested in the community. The business hires from lower income communities in the area, creating quality jobs with great benefits. And it also makes contributions to reduce violence in the city and provide yearly grants to support organizations that offer services to hard-to-reach youth and displaced women.

“Working with the DCC group helps us gain insights to drive more capital to diverse small business owners in the Bay area, specifically in Alameda and Contra Costa counties,” said Robert Porter, Managing Director of Small Business Lending at PCV. “In these areas, small businesses owned by African Americans and Latinos are some of the fastest growing, creating jobs that are critical for our communities. Funding through the DCC program has helped us reach more of these businesses who might otherwise not have access to the capital needed to continue in their growth.”

Carolina Small Business Development Fund, Raleigh, NC:

Jimmy Price, small business owner and entrepreneur, has a good character, integrity, honesty, and a quality work ethic developed over the years as he worked for large hotels and cleaning companies that serviced other businesses. So he was prepared for hard work when he started A Step Above Cleaning Service. What he was not prepared for was a small business loan. For that step, he worked with Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) to identify his business needs and create a plan of action targeted at developing a strong financial base.

Once he was ready, Jimmy applied for a working capital loan and equipment financing from CSBDF. He also received money for debt consolidation. Because Jimmy was unable to get financing early on, he was using high-interest rate options. The working capital provided a cushion Jimmy needed to make payroll and establish liquidity in his business. The loan also allowed him to take on more 1099 contract workers to help meet the needs of his growing list of clients in residential and business properties.

“Joe has been a steady source of encouragement and guidance,” stated Jimmy about Joe Battle, Business Services Director at CSBDF. “He demonstrated so much patience and determination in assisting me in addressing my challenges in running a healthy business.”

With support from its DCC award, CSBDF financed a portion of business training Jimmy and his wife Margie Price received from a local financial advisor.

“The support I am receiving gives me the opportunity to feel comfortable about taking on larger projects. I am now better able to understand my brand," said Jimmy. "Thanks to CSBDF, I have the resources I need to grow my business."

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Learn More:

Join us for an information call about DCC on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 at 3:00 PM EST, when Wells Fargo and OFN staff will discuss the program’s guidelines and answer your questions.

OFN encourages CDFIs with strategies to increase lending to diverse small businesses to submit an Interest Form for this unprecedented program. Interest Forms are due Wednesday, December 1, 2016.

 

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