Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program

  • Three-year capital program for CDFIs who lend

  • to diverse-owned small businesses.

 

Overview

Wells Fargo LogoIn November 2015, Wells Fargo launched the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program. Through the three-year program, Wells Fargo will distribute $50 million in debt (lending) capital and $25 million in grant capital to CDFIs that are expanding lending to diverse small businesses, with a priority focus on African-American businesses.

DCC funds are intended to be utilized by CDFIs to lend to diverse small business owners, support initiatives that increase access to capital and resources (such as technical assistance, marketing, outreach), and help more diverse small business owners get the coaching and education resources they may need. The program also has a social capital component, focused on activities to build effective support networks and social infrastructure among CDFIs for the purpose of increasing lending to diverse small businesses. Wells Fargo is collaborating with Opportunity Finance Network to execute certain aspects of the program.

There will be two rounds of applications each year over the course of the program. For more information, including program guidelines, application details, and an instructional webinar, please visit the Wells Fargo website.

Awardees

  • Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE) - Atlanta, GA
  • Accion Chicago - Chicago, IL
  • Accion East - New York, NY
  • Accion serving Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas - Albuquerque, NM
  • Accion serving Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties, CA
  • African Development Center (ADC) - Minneapolis, MN 
  • AmPac Tri-State CDC - Grand Terrace, CA
  • Ascent Funding - Portland OR
  • Black Business Investment Fund Florida (BBIF) - Orlando, FL
  • BOC Capital Corp. - Brooklyn, NY
  • Bridgeway Capital Inc. - Pittsburgh, PA
  • Business Center for New Americans - New York, NY
  • California Capital Financial Development Corporation - Sacramento, CA
  • California FarmLink - Santa Cruz, CA
  • Carolina Small Business Development Fund - Raleigh, NC
  • Coastal Enterprises Inc. - Brunswick, ME
  • Community Investment Corporation (CIC) - Chicago, IL
  • Community First Fund - Lancaster, PA
  • CommunityWorks - Greenville, SC
  • Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation (CBAC) - Camden, NJ
  • Cooperative Development Fund of CDS for Shared Capital's Cooperative Equity Initiative - St. Paul, MN
  • Craft3 - Ilwaco, WA
  • Economic and Community Development Institute (EDCI) - Columbus, OH
  • ECDC Enterprise Development Group - Arlington, VA
  • Entrepreneur Fund - Duluth, MN
  • First American Capital Corporation - West Allis, WI
  • Forward Community Investments, Inc. - Madison, WI
  • Four Bands Community Fund - Eagle Butte, SD
  • Fresno CDFI - Fresno, CA
  • Hartford Community Loan Fund - Hartford, CT
  • Hope Enterprise Corporation - Jackson, MS
  • Initiative Foundation - St. Cloud, MN
  • Justine PETERSEN - St. Louis, MO
  • Latino Economic Development Center LEDC - D.C. & Baltimore, MD
  • LiftFund - San Antonio, TX
  • Local Enterprise Assistance Fund (LEAF) - Brookline, MA
  • Local Initiatives Support Corporation - serving Los Angeles, CA
  • Main Street Launch - Oakland, CA
  • Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) - Minneapolis MN
  • Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO) - Portland, OR
  • Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) - San Francisco, CA
  • Montana & Idaho CDC - Missoula, MT
  • Mountain BizWorks - Asheville, NC
  • Nebraska Enterprise Fund - Oakland, NE
  • New Jersey Community Capital - New Brunswick, NJ
  • Northern Initiatives - Marquette, MI
  • Northwest Native Development Fund - Nespelem, WA
  • Natural Capital Investment Fund, Inc. (NCIF) - Shepherdstown, WV
  • Opportunity Fund - San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, CA
  • Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation - Los Angeles, CA
  • Pacific Community Ventures - San Francisco, CA
  • PathStone Enterprise Center - Rochester, NY 
  • Pathway Lending - Nashville, TN
  • PeopleFund - Austin, TX
  • PIDC Regional Development Corporation - Philadelphia, PA
  • Prestamos CDFI, a subsidiary of Chicanos Por La Causa - Phoenix, AZ
  • Rainier Valley Community Development Fund - Seattle, WA
  • San Diego Region Small Business CDC - San Diego, CA
  • Self-Help Ventures Fund - Durham, NC
  • South Carolina Community Loan Fund - Charleston, SC
  • Southern Bancorp Community Partners - Little Rock, AR
  • Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Fund - Tampa, FL
  • UCEDC - Cranford, NJ
  • VEDC - Van Nuys, CA
  • Ventures - Seattle, WA
  • Working Solutions - San Francisco Bay Area, CA
  • WomenVenture - Minneapolis, MN
  • WWBIC, The Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation - Milwaukee, WI

Success Stories

Main Street Launch Propels a Restaurateur to New Growth

For eight years Tanya Holland, owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen, has grown her restaurant in a disinvested community in Oakland, CA. As a business owner, it has been her personal mission to hire and train employees within the community, serving a vital role as a leader and role model for how others in the community can start and grow successful community-based businesses.

Yet throughout the business growth, Tanya has faced anemic cash flow performance, taken on high-dollar loans, and struggled with a limited inventory as a result of a lack of affordable working capital. So when she approached Main Street Launch (formerly OBDC Small Business Finance) for help with her business, the CDFI immediately recognized that in addition to providing financing, they could support Tanya with one-on-one coaching.

“We helped Tanya by working through her business plan with her, and counseled her on cash flow management, and developing a financial projection lens,” said Robert Lattimore, Senior Vice President of Main Street Launch.

In addition to providing technical assistance, Main Street Launch—a recent Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital award recipient—provided a $203,000 term loan that met all of her major business needs. “We refinanced high-interest business loans, which improved her cash flow by 25 percent. The working capital we provided facilitated the hiring of five new employees, and added inventory capacity to support anticipated growth in sales revenue,” said Lattimore.

By working with Main Street Launch, Tanya’s business is now more prepared for growth. “Going forward, we agreed to work together to work together to build business relationships with local banking institutions that can meet the future needs of her restaurant business,” explained Lattimore. “Her success empowers us all!”

Impact Stats:

  • Five (5) Jobs projected
  • Twenty (20) Jobs preserved
  • $203,000 of Lending
  • Delivery of Development Services for:
    1. Business Planning,
    2. Cash Management
    3. Financial Projections.
  • African American Business
  • Women Owned Business
  • Enterprise Zone Business
  • Hub Zone Business

Hope Enterprise Helps Build Brighter Futures with Bilingual Immersion

For more than ten years, Kim Palmer has provided access to affordable, quality language immersion programming for infants and toddlers through Bilingual Academy Memphis (BAM). As Kim puts it, her own son’s experiences were the inspiration for the educator to open her own bilingual center, “My son’s godparents are from Chile and Costa Rica. They taught him Spanish at an early age.” Through this experience, she explains, “I saw the need for everyday people to be able to afford for their children to learn a second language.” So in 2005 she opened BAM to serve a need of providing access to bilingual immersion. But rent was an ever increasing problem for keeping costs affordable, so in 2015 she was set out to purchase the property she had rented for years.

“One of the biggest obstacles for us was trying to get financed. Being a small business with one owner, it was difficult. HOPE provided us with necessary funds to purchase the building, which saves us from paying the additional fees we were paying, including rent, insurance, and other costs. It also locks us into a loan at an affordable rate,” said Kim.

With HOPE’s assistance, BAM purchased the land and the building that they had previously leased. Their location in their community is a treasured resource. As the Hispanic population in Memphis has more than doubled in the last decade, BAM plays a meaningful role for Spanish-speaking families. As Kim puts it, “To be able to bring their children here and be able to communicate with staff, this is very important.” All the staff at BAM speak Spanish and English. She currently has ten teachers and caregivers on staff, and they all receive additional training in partnership with the Department of Human Services and other community resources to help them further their education.

The site has a maximum capacity of 97 children. As their current enrollment is 75, there is room to grow, and they plan to add three more staff positions in the future.

BAM was one of the first projects closed through the Wells Fargo DCC. Through the program, HOPE received a $2 million grant to expand its financing activities for minority- and women-owned businesses. The investment in BAM supported through this project will both create additional employment opportunities and additional slots in its bilingual immersion program.

Pacific Community Ventures Connects Entrepreneur to Captial

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.”

Impact:

Red Door is on track to create 10 new jobs in their first year alone of working with Pacific Community Ventures!

Carolina Small Business Development Fund Steps Up for "A Step Above" Cleaning Services

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."

Impact:

1 job preserved, 1 job created

Ascent Funding Helps Growing Small Business Seize Prime Opportunity

“My business, like most young businesses, had limited financial resources, so I was limited in the number of projects I could perform,” said Tyrone Bailey, owner of Bailey’s Construction. Bailey launched his trucking and hauling business in 2012 after years in the industry. As his reputation grew, he began receiving more offers to become the prime sub-contractor for many projects. This meant he needed the working capital to cover costs—like fuel and labor—up front while waiting 30-45 days for customers to pay for the work. On top of that, he was looking to grow, but was unable to secure affordable financing from a bank due to a low credit score.

Bailey approached Ascent Funding (formerly Albina Opportunities Corporation), a CDFI based in Portland, Oregon, and recent DCC recipient. Ascent Funding, which provides under-banked and underserved business entrepreneurs access to capital, extended both a line of credit and an equipment term loan to Bailey’s business. The line of credit provides Bailey’s Construction with additional working capital, and the term loan will enable Tyrone to expand his fleet.

“Together, both credit facilities will provide Bailey’s Construction with the ability to significantly expand his business,” said Robin Wang, Executive Director of Ascent Funding.

In addition to providing the capital, Ascent Funding’s Business Advisory Services is working with Tyrone to improve his financial management skills and credit history so this growing business can one day secure traditional bank financing.

Funding from their DCC award helped Ascent Funding in their work with businesses like Bailey’s. “DCC has been a tremendous resource for us,” Wang said. “Not only because it provided critical financial support to help us fulfill our mission, it has also enabled us to collaborate, learn, and engage with peers from around the country."

Impact:

  • 3 Jobs Retained
  • Fleet expansion
  • Technical Assistance to build credit and gain access to traditional financing

EDG Steps in to Boost a Small Businesses Poised for Growth in Baltimore

For many growing businesses, raising capital to meet growth needs is demanding. When there is a negative cash flow, traditional banks are often not willing to lend, even when the cash flow is due to rapid sales growth. So it was fortuitous for Andrew Buerger, founder of B’more Organic when, in 2014, ECDC-Enterprise Development Group (EDG) reached out to see if the certified B-corporation was looking for funding.

Andrew and his wife Jennifer founded B’more Organic, a skyr-like organic, no sugar added, strained yoghurt smoothie, after a life-changing moment in Andrew’s life. His father died of heart disease at only 58, and it caused him to examine his own lifestyle. “I was 31 years old. At that time, I was about 20 pounds overweight—already taking statin drugs at age 25. I just kind of thought that was my fate as well.” He decided to overhaul his diet and in the process discovered skyr, an Icelandic style of yogurt.

From there, B’more Organics was born, with Andrew and Jennifer developing a healthy and sustainable yogurt by partnering with locally sourced dairy, ensuring their product is sustainable as well as great-tasting and organic. And as a B-corporation, they also donate one percent of their sales to Jodi’s Climb for Hope, which funds MS and breast cancer research. This mission-driven approach was a perfect fit for EDG’s goal to not only help businesses move toward self-sufficiency and have a positive impact on their communities along the way.

The initial outreach to B’more Organic in 2014 enabled the small company to grow, so that when they were ready to expand in 2016, their trusted partner EDG was right there with them to provide the necessary microloan. This capital has allowed B’more Organic to expand their geographic reach into more retail outlets. 

As a Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital (DCC) recipient, EDG is poised to make a greater impact on impactful small businesses like B’more in Baltimore, “DCC funding has enabled us to open and staff an office in Baltimore and also share an office space in Baltimore. Both offices have significant traffic from small business owners. Although EDG began serious outreach in the Baltimore-metro area in 2010, we were not able to make a significant impact on the small business market until we acquired this award,” said Eric Loewe, loan and technical assistance manager at EDG.

Impact:

  • 2 Full Time jobs preserved
  • 2 Full Time jobs created in Baltimore, MD
  • 6 Full Time manufacturing jobs created in New York state
  • Expansion and growth into new markets, now available nationally

MICDC Helps Eva Bowman Start Up after a Set Back

After Eva Bowman’s husband suffered a series of strokes last year, leaving him permanently disabled, Eva decided it was time to start her own business to provide for her family. Despite her skills as a passionate sales person with strong insurance industry experience, she was unable to obtain traditional bank financing for her start-up insurance and financial planning agency.

When she started looking for other sources of capital, Eva connected to Montana & Idaho CDC (MICDC) via the Small Business Administration’s LINC program. MICDC recognized Eva had the natural tools and skills to build a successful business, she merely lacked capital.

To set her on the path to success, MICDC provided Eva with help creating financial projections and finding the business’ break-even point. Then, MICDC provided $20,000 of collateral support to enable Eva to access a $60,000 MICDC SBA Community Advantage guaranteed loan.

Now, Eva’s fledgling business is poised for success. Eva will hire three employees, including at least one bilingual staff member, to better provide services to the local Hispanic community. She is setting up shop in Caldwell, Idaho, where one-third of the residents are Hispanic or Latino, and Eva’s business will provide bilingual access to insurance products for the whole community.

Additionally, Eva will continue to work with MICDC’s client success team, first receiving support setting up QuickBooks for the new business. MICDC’s business advisors will also help Eva track progress toward her financial goals, with a target of transitioning to bank financing in approximately two years. Most importantly, as a business owner with strong support, Eva will feel more secure in her ability to take care of her family.

Supporting burgeoning businesses like Eva’s is possible through MICDC’s recent Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital (DCC) award, which enabled MICDC to create a collateral support program for Hispanic borrowers in Idaho and focus on the Hispanic community. As a result, MICDC has created a deeper community outreach strategy with lots of new referral sources. “DCC funding has helped us see how we can do more in the communities we serve,” said Betsy Beauvais, MICDC Director of Lending. 

Impact:

  • Four jobs projected
  • $20,000 of collateral support to access a $60,000 MICDC SBA loan
  • Delivery of Development Services for: business planning, cash management, financial projections, and path to bankability

Pathway Lending Positions APS Facility Maintenance on the Path to Success

Lorenzo Myrick’s role as an entrepreneur began when he left his long-time job in corporate finance to launch APS Facility Maintenance. “I started this business with a cell phone and a briefcase,” said Myrick. “I did my first interviews in my mom’s restaurant.” As his business grew, he saw an opportunity to evolve the business to a full-service facility maintenance and landscaping provider. But for this growth, he needed capital and confidence.

With the help of Pathway Lending, a DCC recipient, APS secured two term-loans and a line of credit, allowing them to bid differently and invest in technology to improve and grow their business. “We won three contracts right after we secured our line of credit with Pathway Lending. It gave us the confidence to bid differently because we know someone has our back,” said Myrick. “Other funders wanted to put us in a box and didn’t take the time to understand our business model, but Pathway did. We’re not out here by ourselves, we have someone to lean on.” Not only does APS now have an impressive fleet and a warehouse full of equipment, they have invested in automation.

Myrick credits his success to his willingness to ask for help, available through Pathway’s technical assistance and mentoring programs. From this experience, Myrick is building an environment of mentorship for his employees and giving them space to “safely fail.”

“Any employee who passes through here leaves better than they came,” Myrick said. “Some even go off to start their own businesses. We are no nonsense, straight to the point, and give them the tools they need to be successful for us, which happen to be the tools they need to be successful in life. Their success is our success.”

Impact:

  • $960,500.00 to purchase and refinance equipment necessary to improve cash flow and acquire new customers
  • $300,000.00 for access to additional Working Capital to bid more aggressively
  • 60 full-time jobs retained and 40 part-time jobs at the time of the loan; as of October 2016, the company reports 120 employees on staff

ACE Helps Family-Owned Analia Home Health Care Services Secure a Permanent Home

In 2008, right before the Great Recession, Kethy and Jean Michel took their 20 years of combined clinical experience to found Analia Home Health Care Services (Analia). Through Analia, the Michels wanted to take their passion for providing quality health care for children, families, and the elderly by providing 24-hour skilled nursing services and personal care. Their mission “to make your love ones as happy and comfortable in the only place that can bring them joy… the safety of their own home.”

The business has grown to serve 40 counties, employing 45 nurses in the metro-Atlanta area. Despite the growth, the Michels—who lacked an adequate down payment—were unable to obtain traditional financing when they were ready to transition from rented facilities to owning. That’s when they connected with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE).

ACE's commercial loan officer, Anthony Flack, worked with Analia to secure a loan to purchase an owner-occupied commercial office located on Wall Street in Conyers. This permanent location would provide fixed cost stability, ultimately improving their sustainability and cash flow. Anthony worked with the Michel’s to help them obtain the required documentation needed for package-loan readiness. He provided guidance on what to expect for funding needs long-term to maintain the annual loan documents required by lenders, for site visits, and gain greater insight into understanding their financial statements as their business continues to grow.

With help from ACE, the Michel’s submitted their application in April and closed on their loan at the end of May. ACE provided down payment assistance, partnering with the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) delivering a 95% LTV, which meant they only had to put down 5 percent toward the loan. This was a huge cost savings for the company.

"Having a permanent home for our operations gives us the stability and security to focus on building for the future," said Kethy.

ACE’s Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital award was a vital source of capital used in conjunction with the SSBCI program to fund the plans to move to ownership, to help this vital resource in the community continue to grow and serve a diverse constituency of patients.

Impact:

  • 15 full-time jobs and 30 part-time jobs secured
  • Projected to add 50 jobs by 2019
  • Expanding 24-hour skilled service and personal care throughout the Altana-metro region

Small Printing Business Gets Growing with Accion Support

Sometimes inspiration hits where you least expect it. For John Pinnington, inspiration came in the form of a need. He needed a print shop that could do a quick turnaround, but in even in an urban center like Las Vegas, he was unable to find one. So John was inspired to create this much-needed service by launching AA Printing Service. Offering next-day business needs, he was filling a critical gap in a city that is one of the foremost Conference hosts in the country.

John, who grew up in Belize and spent 10 years serving in the British military, knew that “the discipline and ingenuity” he had gained through his service would help him in this venture. And he knew he could take his talents and forge ahead in Las Vegas, “I am motivated by the potential of what this country has to offer and inspired by how successful I can be if I work hard,” he said.

Since 2011, AA Printing has provided this niche service, supporting hundreds of businesses, residents, and organizations along with the out-of-town business traveler with same day printing. His shop has grown from a one-man operation to a staff of five full-time employees.

In 2016, John needed additional capital go grow his business, but first he needed to build credit. At a local Urban Chamber of Commerce meeting, he learned about Accion, serving Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Accion helped John refinance and consolidate his other loans, building his credit so he could access efficient capital.

Today, John sees Accion, a Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital (DCC) recipient, as a partner to his success and notes, “AA Printing and Accion are working in tandem to grow the business and it has been great!” 

Impact Stats:

6 Jobs created/retained

Entrepreneur Drives Business Launch and Growth with Community First Fund Loan

Whitney Westry saw an opportunity to help others by launching her own business. It all started many years ago, when a family member was undergoing dialysis. Whitney witnessed the struggle her family had in coordinating transportation for numerous medical appointments. She saw a need for specialized services to support others experiencing similar challenges and launched WyWest Transport, LLC., a non-emergency, medical paratransit company providing transportation services to individuals throughout three counties in Central Pennsylvania.

The company works with hospitals, rehabilitation, nursing, senior, and other civic centers to transport individuals with limited physical and mental capabilities and to and from their medical appointments and other destinations.

Whitney invested more than $75,000 in starting WyWest Transport. With support from family and friends, she purchased 13 handicapped-accessible paratransit buses, secured insurances and licenses, leased an office location, and purchased office equipment, supplies and computers. She negotiated contracts with companies to provide non-emergency medical transportation in York, Lancaster, and Dauphin counties.  Unfortunately, she ran out of money before opening her doors and came to Community First Fund for help. The Lancaster, Pennsylvania based CDFI creates sustainable prosperity for low wealth communities and individuals, especially Persons of Color and women, by aligning capital, knowledge and advocacy to advance business ownership, housing and community development in the communities its serve.

A DCC recipient, Community First provided Whitney with a $50,000 SBA guaranteed loan for working capital to cover the first three and a half months of operating expenses. Once Whitney secured this funding, she hired six part-time drivers to transport clients to and from their appointments. She plans on hiring more drivers as the business grows.    

Impact Stats:

  • 10 jobs created
  • 4 jobs retained

 

A New Beginning with Self-Help

For 23 years Darnella Warthen has been doing what she loves: caring for children. In 2007, after working for several five-star centers and directing child care services for Durham County, NC, she started her own child care business using Self-Help financing. As Darnella describes it, opening her business with the support from Self Help was life-changing, “Childcare start up is a huge expense, the loan from Self Help got me in the door. Having people have faith in who I was and what I believed in made a world of difference.”

 

Since then she’s opened three more centers, all of them five-star centers serving a diverse group of children, including children in the foster care system. “Not only do I operate them, but I own them. This makes my business stable,” said Darnella.

Last year Darnella used another Self Help loan to expand yet again, which Self Help was able to support as a DCC recipient. She and her staff now care for more than 200 children. For Darnella, becoming an owner of these child care centers has been "a dream come true."

Impact Stats:

  • Serving an additional 80 children
  • Additional permanent location

Next General of Agricultural Leaders Take the Reins with Assistance from Four Bands

Partners Dace Harper and Mason Dietterle purchased the Faith Livestock Commission Company from the Vance family who had owned it for 57 years. The new generation of owners are taking the reins with an energetic and optimistic attitude, actively outreaching to local producers to grow their sales and strengthen the local agriculture market.

For Dace the decision to purchase the business was heavily influenced by his desire to live and work in the town where he grew up. “I had been a full-time cattle auctioneer for about 10 years in Belle Fouche, Philip, Mobridge, Nebraska, and Montana. But, I wanted to be involved permanently in my hometown,” he said.

Accessing capital was also a major factor in Dace’s ability to purchase the multi-million dollar company, and that’s where Four Bands Community Fund, a DCC recipient, came into the picture. Dace had about 25 percent of his portion of the purchase saved, secured 50 percent from a local bank, but still needed the remaining 25 percent to close the deal.

Although he had a few rental properties he could sell to generate the cash he needed, he said, “We were up against time because we needed to be ready for the Fall sales.”

With Four Bands’ flexibility as a CDFI and its mission to support local entrepreneurs, the business partners were able to loan Harper the remaining amount needed to purchase the Faith Livestock Comission Company. Four Bands’ staff also assisted Dace on establishing a business structure, developing a business plan, and calculating financial projections to create a foundation for a successful business venture. With Dace’s determination and Four Bands’ commitment, the loan closed within two weeks.

“Four Bands was really easy to work with,” said Dace.

Located in a rural area with strong agricultural roots, the Faith Livestock Commission Company is a cornerstone for the community, providing stability and job opportunities.

Impact stats:

  • 35 part-time jobs retained
  • 3 full-time jobs created

 

Kansas City Contractor Constructs Strong Business Foundation with Justine PETERSEN Financing

Anthony Portillo’s construction skills and talents are well sought out among Kansas City, KS, contractors. As demand for his subcontracting services grew, he found himself having to turn down lucrative contracts because he didn’t have the capital to front material costs and float weekly payroll. And he was unable to access a traditional line of credit to cover them.  

In 2017, Portillo secured a $134,131 contract—his biggest project to date—and turned to Justine PETERSEN, a community development financial institution (CDFI) for financing.  The CDFI, which is a Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital (DCC) recipient, extended Portillo a $96,000 loan. Disbursed in increments, the loan will help him meet weekly payroll obligations and purchase supplies. Portillo will repay his loan when the job is complete, and the general contractor pays him.

Without Justine PETERSEN’s financing, Portillo would not have had the funds to bootstrap the initial costs required to begin (much less complete) sub-contractor work that is vital to the growth of his business. 

Impact stats:

  • 10 jobs created
  • 4 jobs retained

PIDC Community Capital Helps Don Pedro Meats Cater to Larger Community

Don Pedro Meats and Market Inc. is an 11-year-old business owned by Pedro Vitor and his wife Daniela Costa Vitor located in Philadelphia, PA. Pedro has been in the butchering and retail food business since he emigrated from Portugal to America more than 20 years ago. Daniela works part time at the business, assisting Don Pedro’s five person full time staff with back office functions. The store caters to the local Brazilian, Dominican, and Columbian community, offering a wide variety of high quality beef, chicken, and pork products, sausage made on site, homemade jams, and fresh produce. 

As a mainstay of the Oxford Circle community, Pedro and Daniela were looking to expand from a 2,000 square foot corner store operation into a modern 8,000 square foot grocery. The new space would both enhance Don Pedro’s neighborhood presence and help establish a more permanent foothold in a newer line of business—supplying local restaurants and large events —where the company had enjoyed significant growth. But an excessive amount of high interest short term debt devastated Don Pedro’s cash flow and hampered the company’s ability to grow.

With the help of PIDC Community Capital, a DCC recipient, Don Pedro secured a $675,000 Working Capital and Equipment loan to pay down its higher interest financing and complete construction of a new, expanded 8,000 square foot meat market and grocery in the Oxford Circle neighborhood. With the high interest debt paid off, the Vitors are now focused on the expansion of Don Pedro and an improved bottom line.

Impact stats:

  • 5 full-time jobs retained
  • 10 full-time jobs created
  • Access to fresh, quality food in an underserved neighborhood
  • Vacant building transformed for public use

 

NNDF Helps Expand Access to Childcare

Daycare for working mothers is difficult to find anywhere, but it’s especially hard in small rural communities. Three years ago, Clarissa reached out to the Northwest Native Development Fund (NNDF), a CDFI serving Native communities, to start her daycare facility in Coulee Dam, Washington. She needed new carpeting on her location as well as more kiddie friendly furniture items.

Three years later and a full year after paying off her first loan with the NNDF, Clarissa reached out again. She’d tapped into a large and unmet need for childcare and her business was growing. There was no place else in town for working families to turn. To help meet this growing demand, Clarissa wanted to purchase a new facility.

A DCC recipient, NNDF provided a $5,000 loan that became the catalyst and leverage for the rest of the property to be prepared by the borrower. This initial loan amount was small and went toward signage and kid friendly furniture. Clarissa had already worked out a real estate package deal with a local property owner, received a huge amount of help from family, friends and the community to break ground and retrofit the property.  NNDF helped her a little more capital to add some finishing flourishes on the project.

Clarissa also leveraged this small loan to bring three new jobs in the community in a community just larger than 3,000 people. She’s also created an immeasurable impact on families by enabling parents to go back to work or work longer hours because they now have safe convenient childcare close to home.

Fresno CDFI Helps Couple Make Modesto Childcare Center a Household Name

Hazel's Christian Preschool in Modesto, California, is a progressive year-round preschool and full-service child care facility that cares for toddlers from ages six weeks to 12 years. The curriculum, coupled with a custom designed facility and a low teacher to student ratio, ensures top shelf service for children and their parents. Owners Odoom and Hazel Domson opened Hazel’s Christian Preschool & Childcare Center in 2014.

While owning a business was new for the couple, operating a childcare center wasn’t. Hazel had worked for 14 years as a preschool teacher and more than six years as an administrator for a large childcare center in the area. When that center abruptly closed its doors, she recognized the need for a high quality childcare center in her community.

After developing a business plan, the couple secured a Microloan with Fresno CDFI, a DCC recipient, to start the childcare center. It should be mentioned that all of this occurred as Odoom was out on military duty training out of State—no small feat!  

The Domsons’ first childcare center employs 20 teachers and aides, and its annual enrollment is 85 children. In 2016, the couple saw an opportunity to open a second center allowing them to expand by 56 students. A second Fresno CDFI microloan loan in December 2016 provided the capital needed to obtain licensing, furnish, and hire an additional 15 teachers and aides.

Within short period of time, Hazel's Christian Preschool & Childcare Center has become a household name in Modesto. They have more than 1,000 Facebook likes, 5-star reviews on various social media including Yelp, Yellow Pages, Google etc. And they won the 2016 Macaroni's Kids Best Childcare/School, Day Care Category.   

Impact Stats:

  • 15 jobs created. 
  • 56 children provided daycare and early education services.

Small Business Owner Bounces Back from Cancer Set Back with WomenVenture Support

Taina Burgos’s path to small business ownership has had its challenges. As a young Latina girl growing up in Miami, Taina struggled with numbers, ultimately dropping out of school in junior year. At 21, she found herself a single mother working three jobs to support herself and her daughter. Wanting more opportunities for her family, she attended massage school and found work as a massage therapist in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Taina developed a strong clientele and was able to purchase a therapeutic massage services business in Saint Paul in 2010. She grew her business steadily until 2015, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a successful mastectomy followed by weeks of recovery —when she was unable to work—her business suffered. By 2016, as she was getting business on track, her landlord doubled her rent. Needing financial help, Taina approached WomenVenture, DCC recipient CDFI based in Minneapolis, for a loan.

In late 2016, before the loan closed, Taina decided to take one last look at available rental properties. She found a bigger and better space just down the street from her old location. And, making the property even better, was a more affordable rent. The loan from WomenVenture enabled Taina to move to the new space. “It gave me the ability to make this place what I wanted—the aesthetics, the paint, the drapes, the rug—everything,” said Taina. “The loan also gave me a cushion to not have stress during this transition.”

In addition to financing, WomenVenture also provides free technical assistance with marketing and bookkeeping support to Taina. “Kathy is the only person I’ve ever worked with who did not make me feel like an idiot,” Taina said of her WomenVenture business consultant. “She empowered me to do my numbers and get a handle on a very important part of my business. Now I have the leeway to elevate my business in a healthy way and in a more rapid manner. That’s been huge!”

Taina currently employs a team of 12 who support one another like family and the business continues to grow and thrive. Of her success, Taina said, “With me not finishing school, not having my family, being a single mom, and being a Latina – this is not a normal success. I fought pretty hard. Having someone like WomenVenture believe in me means everything. It’s the difference between success and failure.”

Northern Initiatives Boosts Small Business Boutique

In 2001, single mom Brooke Beckman moved with her toddler to Traverse City, Mich., from Saginaw to be closer to family. She’d been a nail technician for a decade through rented space or as an employee in salons and had built a large customer base. This success continued in Traverse City. But a different dream was percolating.

In 2015, she found the perfect location just off a busy street and knew ‘someday’ had arrived—it was time to become her own boss. But she’d need some financial help. Beckman’s friend and loan officer at her local bank suggested she contact
Northern Initiatives. Beckman says, “My confidence increased from the moment I spoke to the Northern Initiatives lender. I knew nails. I knew salons. I knew what the market needed. But I didn’t know how to manage the financial side of the business. The lender made me feel like I could do it and they would help me learn.” Beckman says the loan approval for working capital and equipment confirmed she was ready.

Beckman opened Polished Nail Boutique in March 2016 with a pink and gray “girly girl” aesthetic. Windows let Northern Initiatives Helps Small Businesses. Small Businesses Help Communities. Thank You Polished Nail Boutique for Helping Your Community. in light and a minimalist design keeps the space feeling fresh and clean. Two pedicure tubs and three nail stations are busy every moment of the workday. She’s proud of the space but knows the effort behind the scenes is what keeps it running smoothly. With funding support from Wells Fargo, Northern Initiatives Business Services team has helped her create a beautiful website, rack cards, and other marketing and advertising supports like Facebook ads and promotions. True to her
lender’s word, she’s learned how to manage cash flow, inventory, and payroll.

Just over a year in business, Beckman is now facing a different issue: success. Every month, revenue has grown 50% over the previous month. She began with about 40 regular clients and now that number is 200, not including walk-ins, and it’s increasing daily. Beckman knew nails. She knew salons. Now she knows how to manage the financial side of the business and says, “I can’t even imagine doing this without Northern Initiatives. They’ve given me so much more than a loan.”

POLISHED NAIL BOUTIQUE - TRAVERSE CITY, MI
Community Impacts
• Jobs Created: 2 Full-Time, 4 Part-Time
• Woman-owned Business

Opportunity Fund Helps Small Business Owner Shift Into the Next Gear

Sarah Mayer grew up around entrepreneurs, so it was a natural progression for Sarah and her partners to launch Shift Collaborative, a Pittsburgh, PA full-service creative firm that works primarily with non-profit clients. “We founded the business on the philosophy of working with change-makers doing amazing things and advocating positive change in their community,” Sarah said. Shift’s work goes beyond website development and marketing services to their company culture: staff are encouraged to volunteer time and services to non-profits and other causes they care about.

When Shift needed a small business loan to secure cash flow and keep their employees in place, Sarah had options for funding, but none were the right fit until she found Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. Sarah was drawn to Opportunity Fund’s easy-to-get and fast small business loans. Like many small business owners, Sarah has a hand in nearly everything the business does. This makes it difficult to take time to work on a long and complex loan application. “There was just a ton of paperwork,” she said of loan options she tried through her bank and credit cards. “I needed to get it done quickly. The folks at Opportunity Fund have been easy to work with. Everyone made it really smooth.” Opportunity Fund business loan advisor Mayra Contreras worked with Sarah to close a $20,000 loan in March 2017. The additional capital is making a major difference for Shift Collaborative. “Without the loan, we might have had to scale back on staffing,” she said. “That would have drastically changed our business and been difficult for us. The loan has allowed us to maintain our staff’s employment.” Now that Shift Collaborative has the working capital they need, Sarah can focus on the next big thing for her company. With new projects in development, Sarah is hoping to transition her current part-time employees to full-time. Long term, she hopes to double her company’s profits in the next year. Opportunity Fund will be there to support Sarah’s future business goals.

LEAF Fund Helps Chef Prep for Small Business Competition

With the support of the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program, LEAF has increased their capacity to provide one on one technical assistance to diverse small businesses in the greater Boston area, including many food businesses operating out of the CommonWealth Kitch. One such business is 50Kitchen led by Chef Anthony Caldwell. 

50Kitchen is a catering service that provides clients with a colorful dining experience. They specialize in healthy food that "is simple, flavorful, with a twist." LEAF worked with Anthony to prepare his business to expand and become a serious contender for the Fields Corner Pilot Project. This competition was sponsored by the Fields Corner Collaborative (FCC), a small business collaborative in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston. The goal of the pilot project is to give a promising small business the opportunity to move into a new retail space on Dorchester Ave. 

LEAF worked intensively with Anthony to adapt his business plan to the Fields Corner retail space. This included new sales budgets, operating benchmarks, and financial projections. LEAF also worked with Anthony to build a project proposal—and eventually a pitch presentation—that reflected his passion and verve for cooking, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his desire to give back to the community that shaped him. After multiple rounds of interviews, Anthony was delighted to report back to LEAF that he was selected as a finalist. 

LEAF also stepped in to help Anthony fine-tune his final pitch for the competition. On the day of the event, and after three compelling presentations by the other finalists, Anthony gave an impassioned presentation on his dream of opening a sit-down eatery with a kitchen equipped to serve healthy and high-quality “beautiful food for beautiful people” in Dorchester. His pitch won!

Reflecting back on that moment, Anthony cannot help but think about how far he’s come in his life. “Growing up in Dorchester was a challenge. Being able to open up a restaurant and coming from a ‘You won’t make it’ type of environment, I’m truly blessed to be able to be a blessing to others. I understand that young man who can’t get a job, I understand that young lady who doesn’t have a father in her life... so with my business and my skillset, I’m going to teach, mentor, and pour back into the community so that people will know that there is somebody who’s willing to give back.”

When asked if he had any parting words about his experience working with LEAF, Anthony said: “I would definitely encourage business owners to join forces with LEAF, because I believe that it’s going to be an experience that they will cherish for the rest of their lives. It’s definitely an experience that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Without LEAF, I know hands down I wouldn’t be the winner [of the Fields Corner Competition] and opening up a restaurant in the months to come.”

 

CEI Helps Create Opportunity with Advocacy and Advising

In January 2012 when Mariama Jallow arrived in the United States from her home country The Gambia, she had ambitions to be a part of the growing immigrant business-owner community in Portland, Maine. After overcoming many hurdles, including advocating for and seeing the shift in a state law, developing a business plan, and opening a type of business that was new to the state of Maine, she now owns and operates Mariama’s Beauty Supply store on Forest Avenue in Portland.

In The Gambia, Mariama managed a store with her mom. “It was nothing like here,” she explained. “When you arrive in the US you just don’t know. I thought I could just go and open a store. Then I learned about taxes, paperwork, insurance, rules and regulations. I didn’t have any help.” She learned about CEI’s StartSmart program from other immigrant business owners and set out to meet with Business Advisor John Scribner. Her first idea was to open a grocery store, but she quickly learned that the market for new immigrant-owned grocery stores in Portland was saturated. Next, she dreamed of opening a hair and braiding business which would include retail products and rooms that braiders could rent to braid hair. She initially came to StartSmart looking for assistance with the licensing aspect of opening her business.

Under Maine Law, hair braiding was prohibited without a cosmetology license. “I couldn’t believe it,” said Mariama. The hair braiding process doesn’t involve any chemicals or harmful products, which is a major reason for cosmetic licensing. “Many people in Maine aren’t familiar with hair braiding because there aren’t many Africans here. I knew this business could be good for the state.” Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Mariama Jallow Mariama and her business advisor John began by reviewing the state laws. They worked with CEI’s Senior Vice President of Research and Policy Development, Carla Dickstein, and Peggy Shaefer, who served as the small business advocate within the Secretary of State office at the time. “We worked together to help update the licensing requirements at the State level,” said John. “Mariama’s willingness to get involved on that level is unique, and showed her strong desire to open her own business.” Mariama and John both provided testimonial before the legislature, and with a strong case the bill quickly passed, allowing individuals to offer hair braiding services without having a cosmetology license. With the new ruling in place, Mariama pursued finding a retail space where her vision for the beauty store and hair braiding salon could become a reality.

After about a year of looking for a location for her business, a retail storefront became available on Forest Avenue. Mariama worked closely with John to manage all the legalities of renting and operating out of the building, including setting up a tax ID number and getting business insurance, to name a few. “Sometimes I sit down with John for one or two hours, for free! He takes time to come in here to my business. There’s no way I could’ve paid for those services,” she said. Mariama Jallow inside Mariama’s Beauty Supply The business opened in the summer of 2016 as a hair retail space. After a few months, some of her clients began renting rooms in the store for their personal hair braiding services. While Mariama is not a hair braider, she is excited to offer a space where skilled immigrants can earn a living for themselves. In the Portland area, there are no stores that are solely dedicated to African hair sales and services. Some hair is sold in small grocers, but Mariama’s Beauty Supply is the first hair-only retailer. “If it wasn’t for CEI, where would I go? When I came up with the project, John was there from the start. Each time I work with him I feel more confident in my ability to run a business. The people in Maine are lucky. It’s impossible for us to do this without support. CEI has provided a lot of help for me, and I know many others who feel the same way,” she said.

"Mariama is always looking to learn and grow her business to the next level, and it’s a pleasure to play a small part in the growth of her business and dream,” said John. She plans to expand the business this fall to include a fully operational hair salon with two stylists. Mariama concluded, “People feel comfortable and relaxed here. Now they can come to buy hair and have their hair braided.”

From Predatory Loan to Affordable Financing: Opportunity Fund Helps a Community Leader Rebuild

A respected business leader in Downey’s Latino community, Maria Villarreal started Cosmetica Latina in 2002 to support Latino students throughout their studies with hands-on instruction, internships in the field, and real-world business skills. With 25 employees working as instructors and staff, Cosmetica Latina has graduated over 70 students with skills in barbering, cosmetology, and esthetics. Local non-profit community organization AMPAC Tri-State CDC helped Maria get started with a 504 Small Business Association loan to buy the building she was renting for her school. Later, when she needed another small business loan to help expand her school through advertising, the only option she could find was a high-cost merchant cash advance loan. Soon she found her cash flow drained under the weight of high monthly payments. “When I signed up for that loan, I thought I was getting low interest financing,” Maria said. “I wanted to build my credit with that loan, but they didn’t report on my credit.”

Through Opportunity Fund’s Community Partners Program, AMPAC Tri-State CDC connected Maria with us when it became clear she needed help refinancing her predatory MCA loan. Our Community Development Officer Robert Zapata helped Maria get the $50,000 loan she needed to pay it off. Our commitment to providing easy-to-get, fast, and affordable loans included a fight with Maria’s MCA lender. “They offered a lower interest rate to keep me,” Maria said. “They wouldn’t release the payoff letter to Opportunity Fund either.” By refinancing Maria’s high interest MCA loan, we were able to reduce her monthly payment from $6,000 to $1,600. The extra cash flow allows her to reinvest in marketing. Maria is thankful to work with us as she rebuilds her business lending profile. “Opportunity Fund was completely transparent,” she said. “They helped me understand the loan process and showed me I wasn’t the only one who gets stuck with these very high interest loans.” Maria is taking her negative lending experiences and turning them into positive actions within the community. She shares her story among her network of small business owners, so they don’t fall into the traps that target entrepreneurs. “I want to make the community aware of financing options and help them make good lending decisions,” she said.

Nebraska Enterprise Fund Builds a Roadmap for Emerging Trucking Company

Julius Reynolds approached the Nebraska Enterprise Fund in the fall of 2017 about how to expand his trucking and transportation business. During his first meeting, he and the Nebraska Enterprise Fund staff evaluated his plans and position and worked with him to develop a roadmap for developing his funding plan. During the first meeting, it became apparent that Julius would need support in creating a business plan and better describing his marketing plan aswell as putting together financial projects. At the end of the meeting Julius and NEF staff agreed that Julius would depart and give some thought to his planning.

Over the next few weeks Julius again sat with NEF staff as they guided him on the questions he would need for his business plan. Questions were aimed at helping him think through the strengths and weaknesses of his plan. NEF staff also helped him think through his skillset and identify how best to maximize his strengths. At the same time Julius expanded his marketing plan and identified how best to grow his business in a way that best positions him for both success and future growth potential.
Working with NEF he was able to put together his financial projections, which meant challenging his assumptions and expanding his understanding of seasonality, especially in his line of work.

Julius had the capacity to grow and that he could use his assets and cash-flow to leverage an additional loan. The technical assistance resulted in a final business plan and financial projections that were presented to NEF’s credit committee in November. NEF approved his loan request for $20,000 which allowed him to add a second truck to his fleet. This truck will give him greater earning potential, increase his asset base, and diversify his sources of income and at the same time allow him to add an additional employee. Julius hopes to keep growing his business, but plans to do so in a managed and planned way.

NEF supports his efforts and NEF’s business development assistance, coaching, and small business loan are just the start for Julius as he takes his company to another level. His dreams are still bigger and NEF looks forward to supporting his growth and eventually connecting him with a local banker that will have access to even greater tools supporting yet greater growth.

Accion Chicago Helps Trusted Business Partner Continue to Enhance her Business

In 2005, Ruby Williams, of the Austin neighborhood of Chicago, dreamt of supporting herself and providing opportunities for the families within her community by opening a reasonably priced home daycare center. In the process of getting her house approved by the City of Chicago to run the daycare, Ruby learned that the water in her home was not up to code—she needed financing to get her pipes fixed, and quickly. After learning about Accion from a local community organization, Ruby was approved for a $25,000 loan in 2006 for the pipe repairs. That year, Ruby’s Little Angels Day Care was officially open for business.

Eleven years later, business is thriving. Ruby had been making many small improvements on her house over the years with the income she earned from the daycare, but she had always hoped for a backyard that would give the children a larger area to play safely outside. Ruby describes the moment as fate when a Community Lender from Accion called her to see how her business was doing. “I remember how quick and easy the process was the last time around,” said Ruby, and she knew this was her chance to beautify her backyard. Ruby was quickly approved for a $10,000 loan and used the funds to pour concrete, build a swing set, and install fencing.

Today, the business is Ruby’s primary income. She can watch up to twelve kids at a time, ages 2 to 11 years old, with the help of a part-time employee. “My experience with Accion was just as great as it was in 2006, and I’m happy to pass on their information to other providers in the neighborhood.”

BCNA Opens Doors for Ivory Coast Native

Nawa Coulibaly, a native of Ivory Coast, came to the US in 2006 with the plan to go to nursing school. She supported herself by working at various stores and in 2010, was presented with the opportunity to purchase the current business from the previous owner for $10,000. Nawa Beauty Supply is a retail business located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which originally sold beauty supplies.

When Nawa first came to BCNA, her business was struggling but the loan officer impressed with how hard working and creative she was, approved her for a $2,000 loan to help her build her credit score. Under her guidance, Nawa began to shift the inventory to include more clothes and accessories to meet customer demand. Since then, Nawa has received three more loans from BCNA for $5,000 each.

The last loan of $15,000, which Nawa received on November 20, 2017, was from BCNA’s Wells Fargo DCC Program funded loan fund. This loan enabled Nawa to buy inventory for the holidays and provided much needed cash flow.

This business is open seven days a week and has a part time sales person.

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