Small Business Financing Initiative

  • Expanding the capacity for small business financing

  • through training and technical assistance.

Overview of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses   Financing Initiative

Small businesses drive the U.S. economy and generate quality jobs in communities across the country. Increasing lending to small businesses presents an important and attractive opportunity for CDFIs and other mission-driven lenders to make a significant impact in their communities.

OFN and Goldman Sachs have committed to helping small business lenders grow to better serve small businesses by launching the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Financing Initiative. This three-year program provides national training opportunities for CDFIs and other community lenders to scale lending to small businesses in underserved communities. Components include:

Industry Webinars

Best practices in small business lending, with a focus on growth and innovation, will be showcased through a series of webinars beginning in February 2016. Webinars will be recorded to provide an on-demand library of resources to benefit all small business lenders across the country.

Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders

The Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders, the first-ever award to recognize innovation and growth in mission-driven small business lenders, launched in 2014 and continued in 2015.

Small Business Finance Collaborative

Following the 2014 National Workshops, participants were chosen through a competitive process to receive intensive technical assistance and participate in peer-learning opportunities over two years to create and implement ambitious and customized growth plans.

National Workshops

OFN offered three, free, two-day workshops in July and August 2014 designed to help small business lenders identify and pursue growth opportunities. These workshops helped 115 participants from 85 mission-driven lenders to:

  • Define growth strategies for their organization
  • Overcome barriers and challenges to growth
  • Identify opportunities to propel growth

All three workshops (Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York) were oversubscribed.

For more information on these programs, please direct questions to:

Webinar Series

In 2016, OFN offered a series of webinars focused on growth and innovation for small business lenders. This webinar series presented an array of operational strategies to reinvigorate participants to think about their small business lending, understand the building blocks of small business lending, learn new tools to enhance and advance their organizations, and gain insights from members of the Small Business Finance Collaborative who have integrated these concepts into their lending.

These webinars, covering seven essential topics in growth and innovation, were recorded to provide an on-demand library of resources to benefit mission-driven small business lenders across the country. These excellent resources—recordings and presentations—are posted below.

This series is part of the Small Business Financing Initiative launched in 2014, funded by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses with additional support from the Surdna Foundation.

Small Business Lending Landscape (February 11)

Introduction to the Business Model Canvas (March 3)

Building a Value Proposition (March 24)

Customer Acquisition and Retention (April 14)

Lending Life Cycle - Part One: Finding Existing Barriers to Loan Growth (May 5)

Lending Life Cycle - Part Two: Lending Life Cycle and Technology (May 26)

Talent Management (June 16)

The Small Business Finance Collaborative launched in January 2015. This new program will build the capacity of CDFIs (community development financial institutions) and other mission-driven lenders to deliver responsible and affordable loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the nation. The program is designed to dramatically increase small business lending in low-wealth communities in the U.S.

Funded by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses with additional support from Surdna Foundation, the Finance Collaborative provides an opportunity for a cohort of 24 mission-driven, small business lending organizations to participate in an intensive two-year program of peer learning, training, and technical assistance to develop and implement a strategic growth plan to improve lending strategies and practices and to significantly increase small business lending while maintaining asset quality.

The Finance Collaborative cohort will contribute to learnings and resources that will benefit the expansion of responsible financial services to small businesses in the United States.

The Finance Collaborative builds on the concepts introduced during three two-day training workshops for mission-driven small business lenders held in the summer of 2014, including value proposition, innovation, talent management, and the lending life cycle. Workshop participants included 115 small business lending professionals representing 85 lenders from around the country. The curriculum’s foundation is adapted from the Babson-designed Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses education program.

Participation in a summer workshop was a prerequisite for Finance Collaborative applicants and the selection process for the program was highly competitive.

The Finance Collaborative members reflect the diversity of mission-driven small business lenders, business models, and approaches, and are based in 17 states. Some participants have a national presence, while others serve local communities. Working in urban, rural, and Native communities, these lenders offer a range of lending products and business models. Collectively, the 24 participants have cumulative assets exceeding $862 million with over 7,500 small business loans outstanding totaling nearly $600 million.

The 2015-2016 Small Business Finance Collaborative participants are:

  • Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE)
    • Cleveland, GA
  • Accion New Mexico ∙ Arizona ∙ Colorado ∙ Nevada
    • Albuquerque, NM
  • Bridgeway Capital
    • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union
    • Brooklyn, NY
  • California Coastal Rural Development Corporation (Cal Coastal)
    • Salinas, CA
  • CDC Small Business Finance
    • San Diego, CA
  • CEI
    • Wiscasset, ME
  • Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF)
    • Denver, CO
  • Community First Fund
    • Lancaster, PA
  • Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
    • Minneapolis, MN
  • Craft3
    • Ilwaco, WA
  • Entrepreneur Fund
    • Duluth, MN
  • Excelsior Growth Fund
    • Albany, NY
  • Growth Capital
    • Cleveland, OH
  • Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC)
    • London, KY
  • LiftFund, formerly known as Accion Texas
    • San Antonio, TX
  • Montana Community Development Corporation (Montana CDC)
    • Missoula, MT
  • Northern Initiatives
    • Marquette, MI
  • Pacific Community Ventures
    • San Francisco, CA
  • PIDC Community Capital (PIDC-CC)
    • Philadelphia, PA
  • The Support Center
    • Raleigh, NC
  • Travois
    • Kansas City, MO
  • VEDC
    • Van Nuys, CA
  • Virginia Community Capital (VCC)
    • Christiansburg, VA

Small Business Leader Award

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. Now in its third year, the national award rewards excellence, builds broad-based recognition, and creates momentum among CDFIs and other mission-driven lenders. For more information click here.

National Workshops

In July and August 2014, OFN offered three, free, two-day workshops designed to help small business lenders identify and pursue growth opportunities. These workshops were designed to help mission-driven small business lenders:

  • Define growth strategies for their organization
  • Overcome barriers and challenges to growth
  • Identify opportunities to propel growth

The workshops built on OFN’s work with small business lenders, and leveraged content from the innovative Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program for entrepreneurs delivered by Babson College. The workshops were attended by 115 participants from 85 mission-driven lenders from across the country.  

Curriculum Overview

The workshop curriculum combined innovative approaches to marketing, culture, technology, operations, and leadership with elements of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program for entrepreneurs adapted for small business lenders.

Workshop participants explored topics such as:

  • Small Business Lending Landscape
  • Value Proposition
  • Culture of Growth and Performance
  • Innovation
  • Customer Acquisition
  • Lending Life Cycle
  • Technology
  • Talent Management

The workshop format was highly interactive, and included discussions with entrepreneurs who graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses training.