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Colorado Enterprise Fund Receives More Than $2 Million to Help U.S. Military Veterans Achieve Their Small Business Dreams

07/26/2018

Denver, July 26, 2018 – The Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is honored to announce that VALOR, its loan program created in 2017 to support U.S. military veterans and Gold Star Families in Colorado, has received more than $2 million in funding over the past two months.

 

Most recently, Bank of America (BOA) approved a $2 million investment in CEF to provide VALOR loans to Colorado military veterans who want to kick-start or grow their businesses. An existing investor in CEF since 2013, BOA first provided $750,000 to help CEF launch its SBA Community Advantage loan program. BOA’s latest national program, the $20 million Veteran Enterprise Lending Program (VELP), was officially announced last month, with the $2 million in funding for CEF’s VALOR program confirmed on July 16, enabling CEF to help more military “vetrepreneurs” realize their small business dreams. “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Bank of America by partnering with them to serve veterans. Their substantial investment of $2 million will help us scale up this effort in Colorado,” said Ceyl Prinster, CEF’s President and CEO.  

 

Additionally, on June 4, the Xcel Energy Foundation awarded CEF a $25,000 grant to help support veteran entrepreneurs in Colorado. CEF began its partnership with Xcel Energy Foundation in 2012 with a $10,000 grant award to support its in-house Business Acceleration Services program and expanded its financial support for veteran business owners in 2016. CEF has received a total of $75,000 in annual grants since then to support lending outreach and entrepreneurial development for its small business borrowers in Colorado.

 

“While access to affordable small business capital for vets and their families continues to be a challenge, it’s encouraging to see organizations like Bank of America and Xcel Energy Foundation step up to help our veterans pursue their dreams of owning small businesses,” said Prinster, “This funding ensures that veteran entrepreneurs who have honorably served our country are set up for success so they can grow and create more jobs across Colorado.”

 

Between BOA’s funding and Xcel Energy Foundation’s grant, CEF’s goal is to grow its VALOR veteran loan program to $4 million over the next two years. The new program, which has surpassed the $1 million mark in loans produced, was introduced on Veterans Day 2017, and provides discounted loan rates and extended terms for military veterans who are unable to secure financing through traditional banks. Since its launch, the VALOR loan program has helped 19 U.S. military veteran borrowers either start or grow their businesses in Colorado. One of the first VALOR loan program borrowers was Navy veteran Angela Elefsiades, a CPA who was looking to grow her accounting business.

 

“Because my firm was less than two years old, I was unable to qualify for a loan through a traditional bank,” says Elefsiades. Elefsiades, who had been assisting a couple clients with paperwork for their CEF loans, decided to approach CEF for her business. “Not only was I able to seamlessly secure a loan, I was able to get it at a great rate due to my military service. The VALOR loan program enabled me to hire two part-time employees and purchase new computers, furniture and upgrade my software in order to better serve my current clients and attract new ones.”

 

The VALOR loan program offers loan amounts up to $500,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and commercial real estate. The program offers a loan rate that is discounted 2% from standard CEF rates with loan terms of up to ten years and interest-only periods of up to six months.

 

Before CEF launched VALOR, the lending organization had provided 33 loans to vets over the course of two decades totaling $1.5 million. With the help of the VALOR program, which has preferred pricing and terms over CEF’s standard loan products, CEF has provided a total of almost 50 loans to vets totaling $2.6 million. Throughout the state, these loans have created 385 jobs and helped retain nearly 125 jobs.  

 

Those interested in applying for the VALOR loan program can apply online via the CEF website and/or can contact CEF Senior Loan Officer and Army veteran, Mike Jensen, at mike@coloradoenterprisefund.org.        

 

About Xcel Energy

Xcel Energy (NASDAQ: XEL) provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices. For more information, visit xcelenergy.com.  Xcel Energy had a community investment of $72.9 million in 2017, which includes support for energy assistance that helped customers in need, volunteer programs and grants through the Xcel Energy Foundation to nonprofits for STEM education, economic sustainability, environmental stewardship and arts and culture.

 

About Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 47 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 4,400 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs, and award-winning digital banking with approximately 36 million active users, including 25 million mobile users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

 

About Colorado Enterprise Fund

Founded in1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides loans up to $500,000 to finance small businesses and start-ups unable to obtain funding through traditional banks. CEF has dispersed over $75 million in startup and growth capital to over 2,200 businesses, and created or retained more than 19,000 jobs in the state. A non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF is based in Denver with lending services available statewide. For more information, visit: www.coloradoenterprisefund.org

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