The Ohio-based organization, Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), is receiving $200,000 in grant funding to help diverse small business owners. It’s one of 12 organizations nationwide selected in round four of the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program.
“The Diverse Community Capital program is one of many ways Wells Fargo demonstrates its commitment to helping small businesses start, stabilize and grow,” said Region Bank President Mary Bell. “Thanks to the support the Economic and Community Development Institute is receiving, more diverse-owned small businesses will be provided the capital, technical assistance and other resources they need to help make their businesses – and ultimately, our communities – even stronger. “
Through the program, Wells Fargo will distribute $50 million in lending capital and $25 million in grant capital to be disbursed over three years. By financing community-based businesses – including small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations and affordable housing – CDFIs will spark job growth and retention in communities across the nation.
Since January, ECDI has loaned $358,600 to 17 different African American owned small businesses in central Ohio.
“I first came to ECDI to launch my start-up fitness and community center,” says Lejuan Coleman, owner of iResolve Fitness in Columbus. ”When it was time to upgrade my business and expand the programming I came back to ECDI, for both lending and small business support.”
Coleman is one of the 17 entrepreneurs who have benefited from the Diverse Community Capital program this year. According to the Department of Commerce, capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion and growth of minority-owned businesses, and when minority-owned businesses do receive loans, they undercapitalized at 43% of the non-minority level.
Inna Kinney, founder and CEO of ECDI stated that ECDI and Wells Fargo share a common goal to break down the barriers that prevent minority entrepreneurs from starting or expanding their business.
“At ECDI we believe obtaining business capital should be an entrepreneur’s launching point, not another hurdle,” says Kinney. “With a Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital grant, we are able to address this critical need in our entrepreneurial community.”
To ease financing gaps in central Ohio, the Diverse Community Capital funding lends support to ECDI’s Minority Business Enterprise Construction Capitalization Program and the Business Innovation Center, which offers wraparound small business development services.