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Colorado Enterprise Fund Awarded $1.35 million from Wells Fargo

The funds will spark minority-owned small business growth


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Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) has been awarded $1.35 million from Wells Fargo to help bolster minority-owned businesses.

 “Small business owners in Denver who would not otherwise have access to the resources needed to start or grow their businesses will now have them through our support of Colorado Enterprise Fund,” Wells Fargo Region Bank President Keith Lobis says.

The CEF is receiving $350,000 in grant funds and $1 million of lending capital through the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital program, which gives lending capital and grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) such as CEF. CDFIs offer responsible, affordable financial products to diverse small business owners who would not typically have access to conventional financing.

CEF has nurtured the entrepreneurial energy of diverse populations in Colorado since it was established in 1976 by providing loans to those who are unable to obtain traditional bank financing. Eighty-two percent of borrowers are low-income, women or minority small business owners.

The Diverse Community Capital program will enable CEF to launch  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. 

“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,” CEF President and CEO Ceyl Prinster says. “Our new MBE Catalyst Program is part of a solution to address the unique needs of these companies and help business owners enter the economic mainstream to build wealth, transform neighborhoods and break the cycle of poverty.”

In 2018, only 26 percent of CEF’s 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

Across the country, Diverse Community Capital awardees have closed more than $391 million through more than 8,000 loans to diverse small business clients. The businesses that received loans have retained more than 21,000 jobs and created more than 15,000 jobs as a result of accessing needed capital and development services.

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 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. 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

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