Company selects six New York organizations for its Open for Business Fund
New York (February 11, 2021) – Wells Fargo has announced that six New York-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) have received a combined $5 million from its Open for Business Fund to help local small businesses – as well as those in other states – impacted by the economic struggles caused by COVID-19. Wells Fargo has selected Accompany Capital ($500,000), Greater Jamaica Development Corporation ($500,000), Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund ($400,000), NDC Community Impact Loan Fund ($1 million), Pursuit Community Finance ($1 million) and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation ($1.6 million) to join its Open for Business Fund (OFB), a nationwide small business recovery effort. The new funding to New York City and surrounding areas will help underserved small businesses stay open and preserve jobs through short- and long-term COVID-19 resiliency efforts, expanded micro lending activities and programming for business owners in Black, African American, Hispanic, Asian and other communities.
Wells Fargo launched the Open for Business Fund in 2020 as an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs recover and rebuild. The initiative focuses on increasing access to capital, technical expertise and long-term resiliency programs. To date, Wells Fargo has distributed more than $110 million across 32 states to help entrepreneurs enabling them to keep roughly 50,000 jobs.
“New York is resilient but the profound effects of the pandemic mean public and private sectors need to come together to invest in an inclusive economic recovery,” said Bill Daley, Vice Chairman of Public Affairs for Wells Fargo. “This funding will help the hard-hit restaurant industry in the state and New York City as well as other local retail and service small business owners so they can preserve their livelihoods and those of their employees. Wells Fargo’s long history of working with CDFIs has proven an effective avenue for getting additional capital to those who need it most.”
Accompany Capital will focus on aiding immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs, especially women small business owners in NYC’s five boroughs. “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been tragic for millions of Americans, but it has been particularly devastating for small and micro business owners in low-to-moderate income communities,” said Yanki Tshering, Executive Director, Accompany Capital. “Accompany Capital is thrilled to receive this generous grant that will enable us to provide much needed debt and rent relief to immigrant and refugee small business owners, as well as to encourage and reward small businesses that have implemented post-COVID innovations.”
Greater Jamaica Development Corporation will use its grant to focus on serving minority- and women-owned small business owners in Downtown Jamaica and Queens in New York City. “GJDC is proud to continue our work with minority and woman-owned small businesses in Jamaica, and Wells Fargo has been a key partner in ensuring we can fulfill our mission. Since the pandemic began, Southeast Queens has been one of the hardest hit areas of the state, making our mission ever more important, supporting entrepreneurs so they can keep their businesses open, hire more people and grow,” said GJDC President and CEO Hope Knight.
The Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund will use this grant to launch a dedicated recovery loan product, scale up post-closing technical assistance, and expand its efforts to provide access to information for minority-owned, small businesses in Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and the Bronx. “Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund is delighted to be a recipient of a grant from Wells Fargo Open for Business [Fund],” said E. Hamil Douglas, President & CEO of Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund. “This grant will allow us to continue providing capital and technical assistance to ensure successful recovery for small businesses in Harlem, Upper Manhattan and surrounding communities, during these unprecedented times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
NDC Community Impact Loan Fund focuses on serving black and brown communities in the Metro New York City market as well as Florida, Atlanta Metro Area, Ohio, and the St. Louis Metro area. “For more than 50 years, NDC has been working with minority and low-income communities to bring capital and know-how to realize economic development goals,” said Daniel Marsh, President and CEO of NDC. “The crisis facing small businesses right now is the most acute we’ve seen in our history. This grant from Wells Fargo is critical to accelerating the efforts being led by our Community Impact Loan Fund to rescue and stabilize as many small businesses as possible in the communities we serve.”
Pursuit will assist people of color, female-led businesses, and LMI entrepreneurs in New York as well as underserved communities in surrounding areas in New York state, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. “The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has placed an unprecedented burden on small businesses and providing them with affordable loans and support has never been more important,” said Steven Cohen, president of Pursuit Community Finance. “The generous support of Wells Fargo will allow Pursuit to provide more small businesses with these survival tools as they strive to stay afloat until our economy recovers.”
Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) serves diverse, low-income, predominately Asian American owned small businesses within New York City. “Support from the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund is coming at an opportune time, enabling Renaissance to build on our recovery lending programs in devastated immigrant communities across New York City,” said Jessie Lee, Managing Director of REDC. “Small businesses are the foundation of the local workforce in the communities we serve, providing jobs and an economic lifeline for low-income immigrants who face daunting language and cultural barriers. This crucial funding will greatly benefit working class neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.”
In addition to existing small business support, the CDFIs will develop and expand programs aimed to address systemic issues and unique challenges faced by diverse entrepreneurs. For example, REDC is providing special services to Asian American communities subjected to xenophobic attacks and burdened with the highest unemployment rates during the pandemic of any demographic group in New York. A significant portion of Pursuit’s, Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund’s, and NDC’s grants will go specifically toward assisting struggling restaurants, an industry hit particularly hard by the pandemic. In addition to providing debt and rent relief, Accompany Capital is supporting two business pitch competitions focused on rewarding small women-owned businesses that have successfully innovated to weather the crisis. Greater Jamaica Development Corporation’s focused lending and robust free technical assistance will provide an economic lifeline to minority entrepreneurs, specifically entities that have less capacity to move their businesses online, have less capital on hand to withstand sudden downturns, and lack the access to family capital or other resources.
Interested small business owners can visit the participating organizations’ websites to learn more about available services and apply for financial assistance. Accompany Capital, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund, Pursuit Community Finance, NDC Community Impact Loan Fund, and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.
About Accompany Capital
Accompany Capital is an award-winning Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Small Business Administration (SBA) microlender which provides financial and in-kind support primarily to refugee and immigrant owned businesses. Accompany Capital has disbursed over $34 million in loans and assisted over 10,000 immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs in New York City since its founding as Business Center for New Americans (BCNA) in 1997, as well as provided workshops and one-on-one advice on business management and marketing to over 10,000 businesses. In addition, 1,412 refugees have successfully graduated from our Individual Development Account (IDA) Program, which matches savings with grants, and have saved over $9.5 million dollars which they then invested in micro-business, further education, and homeownership.
About Greater Jamaica Development Corporation
Formed in 1967, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation is a leading community development corporation on the cutting edge of innovative programs and solutions for urban planning. Operating from the economically and ethnically diverse Downtown Jamaica and Southeast Queens sections of New York City, GJDC promotes responsible development and economic opportunity for our small business service population. For over 30 years our Business Services Group has provided free technical assistance including navigation of government agencies and programs, access to training grants and tax credits, and loan packaging assistance. We also operate a CDFI providing loan funding to entities that might not qualify for traditional bank loans. The COVID crisis has impacted the small business community with a special ferocity and we are providing unprecedented technical assistance and loan funding to these entities.
About Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund
Harlem Entrepreneurial Fund (HEF) was established in 2007 by the Harlem Commonwealth Council to address the challenges faced by the local business community as a result of the Great Recession. HEF began lending in 2008, and in 2012 became a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). HEF’s mission is to serve low-income and minority populations by providing lending capital and technical assistance to facilitate small business expansion and job creation in underserved Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and Bronx communities in New York City. HEF targets minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs), who comprise over 90% of the institution’s borrowers and consist mainly of Black and Latinx entrepreneurs. Since inception, HEF has originated more than 257 loans for over $4.4 million to small businesses, of which 40% are start-ups, and helped to create or retain over 650 local jobs.
About NDC Community Impact Loan Fund
NDC is a national nonprofit that directs capital and financial expertise to local communities, governments, and agencies. Spanning all aspects of economic development, NDC invests in affordable housing; creates jobs through small business lending; invests in social infrastructure and mixed-use developments; and builds capacity with hands-on training and technical assistance for both public and private sectors. Founded in 1969, NDC continues to evolve and innovate to meet the needs of today’s challenges with an emphasis on low- and moderate-income communities, including COVID-19 recovery programs and services. Find us at ndconline.org @NatlDevCouncil
At Pursuit, our mission is simple: to provide businesses with affordable loans and resources so that they can reach higher, transform and grow. Pursuit is a community-focused lender where businesses can access more than 15 loan programs that provide financing from $10,000 to $5.5 million with affordable rates and terms. Last year alone, Pursuit provided more than $234 million in funding through 488 business loans, creating more than 2,900 jobs. Pursuit is a nationally recognized organization that focuses on serving businesses and lending partners in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Pursuit Community Finance is Pursuit’s nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution. Learn more at www.pursuitlending.com.
About Renaissance Economic Development Corporation
Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC) is one of New York City’s leading non-profit small business lenders. Founded in 1997 by parent organization Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), REDC has provided over $55 million in affordable capital to more than 1,200 small businesses, helping create and preserve over 5,000 jobs in majority-LMI, immigrant, and minority communities.
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.