Colorado Enterprise Fund will use funds to help minority-owned businesses increase scale and impact
DENVER – February 7, 2019 – Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced Denver-based Colorado Enterprise Fund was awarded $350,000 in grant funds and $1 million of lending capital through the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital program.
The Diverse Community Capital program awards lending capital and grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), like Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), which in turn deliver responsible, affordable financial products to diverse small business owners who do not typically have access to conventional financing. Wells Fargo has now exceeded its initial $75 million commitment for the Diverse Community Capital program, and an additional $100 million from the Wells Fargo Foundation has already been pledged to continue the program at least into 2020.
With the latest round of funding, Wells Fargo reaffirmed its commitment to CDFIs serving urban centers, like Denver, recognizing the importance of supporting diverse small businesses in the nation’s largest cities.
“Small business owners in Denver who would not otherwise have access to the resources needed to start or grow their businesses will now have resources through our support of Colorado Enterprise Fund,” said Region Bank President Keith Lobis. “The Diversity Community Capital program is just one of the ways we’re proud to support the growth of Denver and Colorado’s economy.”
CEF has nurtured the entrepreneurial energy of diverse populations in Colorado since it was established in 1976. CEF provides loans to those who are unable to obtain traditional bank financing, with 82 percent of borrowers being low-income, women, or minority small business owners. The Diverse Community Capital program will enable CEF to launch a new loan program called the Minority Business Enterprise Catalyst Program to help minority-owned businesses develop scale and impact through stronger networks, increased readiness for and access to capital, and improved business acumen through CEF business advisory services.
In FY18, 26 percent of CEFs loans went to borrowers who are ethnic and racial minorities. The grant and lending capital provided by Wells Fargo will help CEF grow the numbers of minority businesses served through a special “pre-approval” process, as well as post-loan support through CEF’s Business Acceleration Services technical assistance program.
“Despite the inspiring entrepreneurial spirit of our clients, many do not come from small business families and have not been exposed to business or financial concepts,” said CEF President and CEO Ceyl Prinster. “Our new MBE Catalyst Program is part of a larger solution to effectively address the unique needs of these companies and help more diverse Coloradoans enter the economic mainstream to build wealth, transform neighborhoods and break the cycle of poverty.”
Across the country, Diverse Community Capital awardees have closed more than $391 million through more than 8,000 loans to diverse small business clients. Diverse small businesses that received loans from awardee CDFIs have retained more than 21,000 jobs and created more than 15,000 jobs as a result of accessing the capital and development services they needed.
The Diverse Community Capital program is a collaboration between Wells Fargo and Opportunity Finance Network, a national network of CDFIs. Opportunity Finance Network offers a social capital component of the program, which focuses on helping CDFIs grow stronger through activities including in-person networking, mentorship, consulting and peer learning.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,800 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 37 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 259,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 26 on Fortune’s 2018 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
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 $80 million in startup and growth capital to over 2,300 businesses, and created or retained more than 12,000 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