Open for Business Fund supports diverse entrepreneurs impacted by the pandemic
SEATTLE – Feb. 23, 2021 – Ventures, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), has been awarded a $350,000 grant from Wells Fargo to help small businesses stay open and save jobs in the Seattle area. The funding will help Ventures provide 170 micro-grants, low-cost emergency loans, technical assistance, and long-term business coaching for diverse, low-income entrepreneurs.
“For more than five years, Ventures has collaborated with Wells Fargo to advance economic opportunities for the most vulnerable and underserved small businesses across the Puget Sound,” said Ventures Executive Director Beto Yarce. “This funding will allow Ventures to make direct capital investments in Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), LGBTQ+ and minority-owned businesses. We are grateful to have Wells Fargo’s support and trust.”
The grant is part of Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund program, which launched last year as an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. To date, the Open for Business Fund has deployed more than $84 million in philanthropic capital to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which has helped an estimated 16,000 struggling minority-owned small businesses and helped keep in place 50,000 jobs.
“We want small business to know they are not alone. We are going to continue to come together as a community to foster an inclusive recovery and strengthen the small business sector for the long term,” said Dwight Prevo, Wells Fargo’s Washington community development officer. “Our Open for Business Fund draws on the expertise of nonprofits like Ventures to help expand additional capital, emergency relief, and technical assistance to minority-owned businesses.”
Nearly half of all Americans are employed by small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. And according to the Wells Fargo Q4 Small Business Index survey, small business owners see a long and arduous road ahead. Nearly 60% of small business owners say they don’t expect businesses like theirs to fully recover from the effects of the pandemic until the second half of 2021 or later.
Ventures is a Seattle-based nonprofit that empowers aspiring entrepreneurs with limited resources and unlimited potential. We provide access to business training, capital, coaching, and hands-on learning opportunities for entrepreneurs. We serve those in our community for whom traditional business development services are out of reach, with a focus on women, people of color, immigrants, and individuals with low income. Our ultimate goal is to support individuals to increase their income potential, achieve long-term financial stability, provide for their families, and enrich their communities through small business ownership.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets and proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of all middle market companies in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending; Commercial Banking; Corporate and Investment Banking; and Wealth and Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health and a low-carbon economy. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
David Kennedy, 907-830-3139
Beto Yarce, 206-960-4680
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