Denver, November 5, 2018 – This month marks the one-year anniversary of Colorado Enterprise Fund’s (CEF) loan program created to support U.S. military veterans and Gold Star Families (surviving spouses and children of veterans) in Colorado. The Veteran Access Loan Opportunity Resource (VALOR) program was launched on Veteran’s Day in 2017 and provides discounted loan rates and extended terms for military veterans and Gold Star family members who are unable to secure financing through traditional banks.
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.
In its first year alone, the VALOR program has surpassed the $1.85 million mark in loans produced and has helped 22 U.S. military veteran borrowers either start or grow their businesses in Colorado. These loans have created or retained more than 185 jobs in the state. In the Denver area, CEF has provided loans to eight Veteran small business owners totaling $520,760. These loans have helped to create or retain 63 jobs in the Denver area.
In July of 2018, CEF received a $2.2 million investment from Bank of America (BOA) to advance the VALOR loan program to impact more Colorado military veterans who want to start or grow their businesses and is now VALOR’s presenting sponsor. The Xcel Energy Foundation also funds this efforts through a $25,000 program grant to help support veteran entrepreneurs gain access to business resources and build capacity in Colorado. Due to high demand, CEF needs to expand the VALOR loan program to $4 million by the year 2021 with additional investors.
“It’s encouraging to see how successful our VALOR loan program has been since its launch one year ago – it paints a clear picture of the large number of veterans who have small business dreams after they have honorably served our country,’ says Ceyl Prinster, CEO and President of CEF. “Access to affordable small business capital for vets and their families continues to be a challenge and our goal is to help veterans get set up for success so they can grow and create more jobs across Colorado.”
Last spring, Cynthia and Dennis Scott took advantage of CEF’s VALOR veteran loan program for their food truck and catering business, Cyndy’s Food-Lish-Us. that serves the Denver metro area. Their old-school diner on wheels provides home style comfort food like their grandparents used to make. A year after launching their business, the owners needed a loan for equipment and breathing room. With Dennis Scott’s military service, they were able to qualify for a VALOR loan through CEF. “We love that we found CEF through one of our bankers at Key Bank because they could not help us,” said Mrs. Scott. “CEF made it so easy and pleasant. The loan has really helped our business grow. Fall is when the food truck business slows down but ours hasn’t and that is thanks to CEF!” Read the full Cyndy’s Food-Lish-Us success story here.
Those interested in applying for the VALOR loan program can apply online via the CEF website or can contact CEF Senior Loan Officer and Army veteran, Mike Jensen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CEF Participates in Denver Business Events for Veterans Day 2018
CEF staff members will introduce and speak about the VALOR Loan Program at two small business events in Denver for military vets and their families during the month of November and a CEF borrower will also be featured in an event:
- Monday, Nov. 5: Veterans Business Owner’s Panel: Sharing Our Road to Success
- 12-3:15 p.m. Steve White, Colorado District Office, U.S. SBA will moderate this panel discussion with Veteran business owners in Denver. CEF borrower and veteran Henry Rush, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Launch Pad Brewery, will be featured on the panel and share his success story.
Location: Launch Pad Brewery – 884 S Buckley Rd, Aurora, CO 80017
- Wednesday, Nov. 7: Veterans Resource Fair/Showcase presented by Bunker Labs
- 5-7 p.m. CEF’s Senior Loan Officer and Army Veteran, Mike Jensen, will share info on CEF’s VALOR veteran loan program. Free to veterans and their spouses.
Location: WeWork-Union Station, 1550 Wewatta, Denver
- Monday, Nov. 12: Rocky Mountain Veterans Inaugural Pitch Competition presented by Commons on Champa
This is Colorado’s premiere pitch competition for veteran-owned startups. Entrepreneurs, investors and leaders in tech and business will convene in Downtown Denver as top founders take to the stage to vie for $25,000+ and the Rocky Mountain Veterans championship crown.
- 5-9 p.m. CEF’s Community Lending Officer, Stefanie Fox, will share info on CEF’s VALOR veteran loan program. CEF is the official Public Relations, Print, and Media Sponsor for this event.
Location: Galvanize-Golden Triangle, 1062 Delaware Street, Denver.
Free and open to the public.
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 18,000 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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