Financing Your Business

This training will review the sources of capital for a start-up, and the pros and cons of each.


Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Part 3 of 3: Prepare and Increase Probability to Access Capital

In Partnership with Epicenter Memphis. Successful access to capital depends on how well you communicate your business and your financial needs to the funding sources. How can you effectively demonstrate that you understand your business, from financial, market and management viewpoints? **Epicenter supports entrepreneurship in the greater Memphis area.


Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Part 2 of 3: Increase Awareness on Capital Resources

In Partnership with Epicenter Memphis. At different stages of business, you will have a need for different amount and nature of capital/funding. What to look for? Where to look? and How should you consider approaching them? **Epicenter supports entrepreneurship in the greater Memphis area.


Financing Rural America - National Press Foundation

Biden Admin. Pumps $1.25 billion into Rural Lending

By Sydney Clark, National Press Foundation

Biden Admin. Pumps $1.25 Billion into Rural Lending. Community development financial institution experts say CDFIs can help alleviate rural poverty and racial inequities where previous pandemic relief failed. How journalists can track COVID-19 federal funding in their communities.

5 Takeaways: If you’ve never heard of a community development financial institution, you’re not alone. In June, the Treasury Department awarded $1.25 billion in COVID-19 relief to 863 CDFIs to help counter poverty, racial inequality, and the ravages of COVID-19. This move brought unprecedented attention to the long-underfunded lenders. CDFI experts call themselves “private bankers to the poor” and “financers with a heart.” They are grassroots-level microlenders, credit unions, mortgage lenders, small business lenders, venture capital funds and more – the “Swiss army knife” of financial services to low-income communities, said Lisa Mensah, president and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, a CDFIs umbrella group. Previous rounds of federal COVID relief funds disproportionately benefitted white borrowers. The Biden administration has targeted CDFIs for the next round of funding because they are trusted institutions that understand the needs of the communities they serve, argued Mensah.

Access to capital is the equivalent of oxygen. “If you’re Black and poor, if you’re rural or Brown, those resources aren’t as readily available,” argued Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Credit Union. “CDFIs step in where the market has failed and level the playing field for neglected people and places.” HOPE works in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee, states that suffer from systemic, persistent poverty. Roughly 370 counties nationwide are categorized as persistent poverty, and a third of them are in Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. It’s no coincidence, Bynum said, that these counties are the most heavily Black and the most capital-starved. The black-white wealth gap in the country is 10 to one, and for black families with children, it’s 100 to one, according to Bynum. The federal CARES Act spending included funding to prevent eviction, but Mississippi only distributed 11% of those funds. There was also a COVID relief program for entrepreneurs of color in Tennessee and Arkansas, but “only a fraction of those funds actually were deployed,” Bynum added.

The Rapid Response Program aims to correct inequities in the Paycheck Protection Program. Sole proprietors—many rural business owners—were not eligible for the first round of PPP loans. “As we saw over the past year and a half, particularly through the [PPP], the rural communities, the mom and pop entrepreneurs that are so vital to a local economy were capital-starved,” Bynum said. “And banks, which are the default tool for the federal government…did not prioritize rural communities, communities of color.” In the second and third rounds of PPP loans, CDFIs outperformed banks and put more money into the rural economy. In Louisiana, the CDFIs made more loans than the seven largest banks in the country combined, Bynum said. Ines Polonius, CEO of Communities Unlimited, said that the $1.28 million federal grant her organization received “is the first time in 23 years that we’ve received flexible money. Until this program, we had little pockets of money,” Polonius said. When the loans are repaid – and the default rate is very low – the money will be lent out again. “What’s so amazing about rural entrepreneurs is that if you provide them the resources, and you build that relationship with them, they will pay you.”

Reporters need to go beyond stereotypes of rural America as “hopeless” to document where the federal funds are going and whether the money is making a difference in cash-starved communities. Tim Marema, editor of The Daily Yonder and a dean of rural American journalism, encouraged reporters to first identify the CDFIs in their area that have received federal funding and then keep track of who got how much for what. One resource is ProPublica’s Tracking PPP Loan Database, where you can search for every company approved for federal loans. CDFIs can be “allies in identifying the constituents they work with, helping find the people who can personalize these stories,” Marema said. While he thinks most CDFIs will help reporters tell these stories, he said to be cautious of those that provide limited transparency. Lack of disclosure could signal ethical problems, he said.

Rural America isn’t a monolith and entrepreneurs abound. Marema warned journalists to beware of common stereotypes about rural communities. Only 2% of rural residents earn their primary wages from farming or ranching, and there’s a larger percentage of manufacturing jobs in rural America than in metropolitan areas. Bynum added that the region is also ethnically diverse. “If you look at us collectively, we are the incredible quilt that is America,” Bynum said.


Kay's Kute Fruit

Kaye's Kute Fruit

Kenesha Lewis's life motto, “Life is what you make it, speak life into your life and Make It Happen,” is a true representation of her everyday life. Kenesha, along with her husband Jason, have taken this motto and ran with it.
In late 2018, Kenesha had what she calls a “revelation” about a new business venture. One night at church, Kenesha recalls saying, “We need to do a fruit bouquet,” Kenesha, who has always had a love of healthy fruit, decided that she would take her passion for fruit and make it into a successful business. She already had the motto and the love of fruit. Now all she needed was to start the business. In early 2019, Kay’s Kute Fruit began to take shape. She started her business from home by making fruit smoothies, baskets, and gifts and selling them online. She delivered the creations before and after work and during her lunch break at her regular job. She and Jason would offer samples to people to get their responses, and the business continued to grow to part-time, up to 15 hours a week, in addition to their full-time jobs.
Once they thought that this business could grow into their full-time jobs, they began making plans and setting goals for sales and profits. Once they reached that goal, Kenesha quit her full-time job and continued to build her business. The business grew very rapidly, so Kenesha decided to open a physical location in downtown Greenville. However, she would need assistance in the lease or purchase of the building to make that happen.
After a friend tagged Kenesha and Kevin in a Facebook post with Higher Purpose co. in Clarksville, MS., the couple engaged in a six-month business fellowship program. This program’s mission is to help build community wealth with black residents in Mississippi through financial, cultural, and political power. With the help of Higher Purpose Co., they began searching for a location for their business. After looking at many properties, they found one they could purchase for between $800-$900 a month, but it also came with substantial and costly improvements. With the help and advice of a friend, they contacted the owner and moved forward to purchase the space. With a purchase price of $30,000 and renovation cost of $4,000, the couple once again went to Higher Purpose for advice. Higher Purpose introduced Kanesha and Jason to Communities Unlimited. Deborah Temple, Director of Research and Strategy at Communities Unlimited, discussed loan options with Kenesha and Jason. They applied for a small business loan from Communities Unlimited to purchase the building in September 2020. They requested a loan of $40,000 to cover the building purchase price of $30,000, plus $10,0000 to get the building renovated and the business open. Deborah and her team assisted with the loan and provided business management and QuickBooks training to ensure that the finances would be well maintained. Kenesha stated that their experience with Communities Unlimited has been good. “They’ve connected us with good people. We’ve enjoyed our time with Communities Unlimited”.
Kay’s Kute Fruits opened on April 19, 2021. The location provides a variety of fresh fruit products and services, including all-natural beverages, fruit bowls and salads, fruit arrangements and smoothies. They plan to cater events and provide fruit options for local schools. They also have other big plans for the business, and Kenesha hopes to expand the business into other areas and states in the future.
Kenesha worked hard and has fulfilled her life motto. Her business motto is “Fruit is life; you are what you eat.” Fruit is her life, and she wants to provide her customers with healthy food options. She and Jason now want to offer tips for other up-and-coming entrepreneurs, including have confidence in your dreams and believe in yourself. “Surround yourself with people who are going to take you to the next level, set realistic goals and hold yourself accountable for those goals, and if you need the money, holler at Communities Unlimited," Jason said.

 

 


Marfa Meats

Marfa Meats

Marfa Meats, LLC is a startup meat packing plant located in Marfa, TX, and owned by Christy Miller.  Christy has 24 years of experience in financial software consulting. She began to invest in real estate and now owns property in Texas, Colorado and California.

Christy first visited Marfa on a trip from Denver to Houston. She worked remotely and began spending more time in Marfa, eventually building a home. Christy made the permanent move to Marfa in 2015. She didn’t understand why there were cattle everywhere in West TX, but local steaks were hard to find.  Christy began working with a local rancher. She learned that ranchers have over 84,000 head of cattle in the tri-county area without any local meat processors. Food production in the United States has become increasingly consolidated since the 1960s, and meatpackers now control 85% of the beef supply. She began educating herself in the industry by taking classes at Sul Ross State University, attending workshops on butchery. Christy identified three key problems and set about to create Marfa Meats as a solution to these problems:

 

  1. Ranchers in West Texas face two unfavorable choices – trucking livestock hundreds of miles to facilities that do not certify the ranchers to sell their processed meat or sell at commodity prices, limiting their profits.
  2. Consumers want to know where their food comes from and how it was raised. Currently, four companies control over 80% of beef processing in the U.S., making it hard for consumers to know the origin of their food.
  3. Local jobs with livable wages and benefits are hard to find.\

Marfa Meats is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified facility and plans to sell to local retail and have a direct-to-consumer subscription box service. The mission of Marfa Meats (MM) is to reconnect customers by implementing a local meat processing model that prioritizes respect for the animal, ranchers, employees and community.

Christy sold one of her properties to make the initial investment in MM. She learned of Communities Unlimited (CU) while engaging with Marfa Step Ups, a grassroots organization to further economic development in Marfa. She received a small business loan from CU funded by a $1 million grant from the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund and is working with CU’s Entrepreneurship Team management consultants. “The management consultants from Communities Unlimited were instrumental in helping me secure funding for the operating capital I needed for my new business to move forward. They provided me a unique and customized approach to the startup and loan process for my business. Furthermore, they continue to work with me on cash flow planning and to provide assistance with my accounting program,” said Christy.

MM will operate utilizing a modular unit system. The modular design enables the completion of all parts of the processing onsite and even makes it possible to sell meat onsite. They are USDA compliant and fully integrated with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), a management system in which food safety is addressed. The modular system costs less than a brick-and-mortar facility. They can be relocated, rearranged and added to as operations grow. They are delivered with hardware and software to support product traceability, digital workflows and include training by experienced personnel.

Marfa Meats started operations in May 2021.

Marfa Meats is pursuing the following lines of business custom processing of cattle, swine, goat and lamb, local retail sales of local meats, direct-to-consumer sales, and online and in-person husbandry, cooking and butchery education to reinforce the ranch to consumer connection.

The model will provide a local market for ranchers, local foods for consumers, local jobs with competitive wages, and enrich the community’s economic and physical health.

Marfa Meats has developed a 3-year growth plan. MM is currently focused on building the infrastructure to support growth and the direct-to-consumer offerings. In year 2, MM plans to maximum processing capacity and expand its educational content. Then in year three, the goal is to extend processing capacity and extend direct-to-consumer offerings.

You can learn more about Marfa Meats at https://marfameats.com/ or by visiting their Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages.


Successfully Accessing Water Infrastructure Funding Programs: Advice from Two Former Loan Officers

Federal, state, and territorial programs exist to help small water systems pay for critical infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement, including the state revolving fund, USDA, and CDBG. This webinar will share advice from two of RCAP’s technical assistance providers who previously worked as infrastructure loan officers on how to be successful in accessing these important programs. The material in this webinar is best suited for individuals who are involved in the financial management of water systems.

Presenters will include:

• Tom Finger, Technical Assistance Provider, Midwest Assistance Program

• Gaylene Riley, Community Environmental Management Specialist, Communities Unlimited

• Glenn Barnes, Financial and Managerial Capacity Building Specialist, RCAP

A certificate of attendance will be issued to webinar participants for 1 hour of instruction (generated for active participation via GoToWebinar).


Academic Warriors

Academic Warriors

by Allison Bruning

Allison Bruning
Allison Bruning

My name is Allison Bruning. I am Appalachian Scot-Irish and German from Marion, Ohio. I am also a second-generation American on my dad’s side. His parents were immigrants from Germany at the turn of the 20th century. My dad was a deep-sea diver in the Navy during World War II and Korea. He dove for Jacques Cousteau and was a stunt diver on the Old Sea Hunt series as well as an oil rig diver in the Gulf of Mexico. My grandmother’s side of the family is from West Virginia. Her grandmother was one of the first female RNs in West Virginia. My mother’s father’s side of the family was Scottish, who fought in the American Revolutionary War and were given land in Ohio after the war as part of their pension. We are descended from one of the first families to settle in Central Ohio!

My mom and I moved to Texas when I was sixteen while I was a foreign exchange student in Costa Rica. I went to college at Sul Ross State University, where I trained to become an archaeologist. To this day, I have been on five archaeological digs and one paleontological dig.  I specialize in geology and Native American studies. I hold a BA in Theatre Arts directing stage, screen, and television and a minor in Archeology. I was working on my master’s in history in Native American studies when I met my husband. We were married in 2001. He is truly the reason that I am the teacher that I am today. He saw me teaching a Sunday School class then asked me, “Why are you an archeologist? You’re such a great teacher. That’s what you should be doing, teaching!” A few years later, I left my studies and went back to school at Sul Ross State University to get a teaching certificate and my master’s of education as a Reading Specialist. I had thought of opening my own clinic so I could help special needs students. I became a certified teacher but was unable to complete my MEd because my husband and I had moved to Louisville, Kentucky. It was there I started my writing career. Today I am a bestselling author with three novels, ten short stories, a children’s book, and a poetry book. It was also in Kentucky that I had decided to pursue my MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University. I graduated with my degree in the fall of 2013. I thought I would stop there. I couldn’t transfer my teaching certificate from Texas to Kentucky. Still, I could teach writing at the college level with an MFA. So I had applied at several places. I eventually landed a teaching job at a university in Indianapolis, Indiana. We moved there, but I really missed teaching children.

My best friend at the time had convinced me to go to get my Ph.D. in Education. I had loved that idea because after working so long in education in the public and private sectors, I realized that special needs students just aren’t getting the right services because general education teachers aren’t taught how to personalize the teaching methods that would help them. I’m autistic, gifted (IQ is 140), and I have dyscalculia (math learning disability). Not a single teacher ever had addressed my autism nor my high IQ, only my learning disability when I was in school. I soon learned from other people I spoke with that I wasn’t alone. So I decided to do something about it. I was going to get my Ph.D. in Special Education and change the system from the inside. I started my research for my dissertation. My topic was autism identification and education within the school system. I learned that half of the autistic population commit suicide before they are 18 because they don’t have the necessary support system to help them become adults. Half of the remaining half are incarcerated, do drugs, alcohol, or engage in risky behavior in their 20’s. And the older the population grows, the more we lose them. I couldn’t believe my results, so I showed my husband, who had been a correctional nurse in Texas and Kentucky. He said he had encountered it every day he worked within the units. I was so upset that I told my husband we couldn’t let this continue! So I quit my Ph.D. studies and opened Academic Warriors in 2015. We started the school in Marfa, Texas. We didn’t have any business loan to help us out. We decided to full-time RV so we could meet with parents from all over the United States and let them know about our school.

Academic Warriors offers personalized online classes that are delivered live via Zoom. We have been using Zoom for five years. We don’t just offer online classes, though. One of the main problems I found when I started my writing career was that even though I had had wonderful writing classes throughout my education, they never truly prepared me for a writing career. Many publishers have to teach writers what a writing career is really like. There are publishers who take advantage of new writers. I believe students who want a career should have the necessary skills for that job. So I opened my own publishing house, placed it underneath the school, and developed a Young Authors program. Our Young Authors Program teaches students how to properly write short stories, novels, and children’s books. Then we publish the students. The students have to work with a real editor, graphic designer, and formatter in our publishing house just like they be would in the real world. I also developed a nonfiction writing program for students who are interested in becoming reporters or researchers. During the summers, we have an Arts in the Parks program where we work with state, local federal parks, museums, zoos, and aquariums to host a writing program that teaches students the creative writing process. The students create short stories then we professionally publish their stories in an anthology. The students can also have writing contracts with us for any other book they want published. You see the program on our website at www.academicwarriors.com.

Allison Bruning and her husband, Delfin Espinosa
Allison Bruning and her husband, Delfin Espinosa

I have basically built our entire company on my own. I am a graphic designer, so I have built a website and social media marketing. I am currently building two more websites for our school. I attended SBA conferences so I could gather the resources I would need to build the school. My husband is on disability because he is legally blind. We have used his funds to help with the school in the beginning. I also taught at Outschool while I was building the company. I told many of the parents I was working with over there that I was going to open Academic Warriors and leave Outschool. They ended up leaving with me. Three years ago, one of my parents in Arizona introduced me to the Arizona ESA (Empowerment Scholarship Account) program. We have been working with that program ever since and have received ESA state funding for many students we have worked with over the years. My husband and I have traveled all over Texas and New Mexico. We are currently in Fort Smith, Arkansas hoping more parents and educators will learn about our company.

My husband, Delfin Espinosa, is Mexican American and Apache Native American from Marfa, Texas. He is a third-generation American and a native of Texas. Delfin was an LPN for twenty years in nursing homes and prisons before he went legally blind due to end-stage glaucoma. He is currently in school to become a health and life coach. My husband is a very positive man who has been a great help to me. He loves helping people.

We are looking forward to expanding our services to include his health and life coaching.

We are very grateful for the opportunity to have the PPP. We had applied when the first and second rounds of PPP had opened but were told we didn’t meet the requirements. I was so upset because our school had been adversely affected by COVID. 2020 was such a weird year for our school. So many parents had been suffering financially that we offered discounts to many of our parents in order to keep their children within our student population. Our teachers were affected as well. When schools didn’t open in August, we had gained many students. We had been doing well until November and December. Many parents started to have financial issues, or some of the schools decided to reopen. So many of our new students left our school. That left a financial burden upon us that had made it difficult to pay our teachers. I also had encountered some health issues that had left me in the ER three times, an ambulance twice, and several visits to different specialists. Our finances were so bad that I had no choice but to let all of our teachers go. It was a really hard time for my husband and me. I had even wondered if I was going to have to close the school. I didn’t want to do that. Thankfully, Tamara at the SBA had emailed me on March 1st to let me know that Congress had changed the PPP requirements and that I might be qualify. I was overjoyed! She told me about your organization. I couldn’t get to the paperwork until last week because my schedule is swamped with students. Last week was Spring Break, so I had the time to fill out the paperwork. I was over the moon excited when you told me that I had qualified and was approved! The funds are going to allow me the opportunity to pay the teachers I couldn’t pay, replace the computer with one I need more for our business, and help with operating expenses.

ACADEMIC WARRIORS IS GOING TO LIVE!

Follow Academic Warriors on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or browse more of Allison’s written works on Amazon.


SOAR: Southern Opportunity And Resiliency Fund

Communities Unlimited has been chosen as 1 of 13 CDFIs to originate loans as part of the Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund.

The Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund aims to support the recovery of small businesses and nonprofits with access to flexible, affordable capital and free business support services across 15 southern states

March 3, 2021 – A diverse group of community finance organizations today announced the Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund, which aims to raise $150 million to provide affordable capital and free business support to small businesses and nonprofits in 15 southern and southeastern states to help them navigate and rebuild from the Covid-19 health and economic crisis.

The SOAR Fund was created by community lenders in the South to provide economic recovery loans to small businesses in their communities at a time when they are facing unprecedented health and economic challenges. The loans are designed to reach the smallest of small businesses and those that have been historically underbanked – the type of businesses that this coalition of lenders have been serving for decades. These businesses often struggle to access capital from traditional sources but are critical to providing jobs and supporting economic recovery in communities across the South.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already uneven recovery from the Great Recession. Southern states had slower economic growth, lower labor force participation, and higher unemployment than the rest of the country, partially driven by the historic lack of corporate and philanthropic investment in the region,” said George Ashton, managing director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), which manages the Fund. “The SOAR Fund, with support from leading banks, foundations, and corporations, will tackle these issues head-on by addressing structural barriers to economic opportunity by providing capital to Southern small businesses and nonprofits that need it now.”

The portal for small businesses is scheduled to open in April and will offer flexible, affordable loans of up to $100,000 to small businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 50 full-time employees. The Fund replicates similar models that have succeeded in New York and California by working with and through local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).

All interested small business owners and nonprofits can review program eligibility, product terms, and indicate interest at www.TheSoarFund.org, which will notify business owners once the application portal is live. Once the application portal launches, eligible applicants will be matched with a participating lender that will assist the business owner with the application and provide advisory support.

Catalytic initial grants and loans are being provided by Capital One, Microsoft, the F.B. Heron Foundation, Fidelity Charitable with support from CapShift, the Heifer Foundation, Mercy Investment Services, Woodforest National Bank, Ceniarth, and the Jacksonville, Florida-based Chartrand Family.

“By investing in the Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund, we are enabling recovery and economic stability to historically under-served businesses and communities through a robust network of CDFI partners to deliver targeted business support services,” said Theresa Bedeau, Community Impact & Investment at Capital One. “Capital One is proud to support SOAR as its entrepreneurs build their businesses and nonprofits, establish financial well-being and secure their futures.”

“We’re pleased to partner and invest in the Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund with the goal to increase access to capital and support for underserved community businesses and nonprofits,” said Tahreem Kampton, Corporate Treasurer at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to addressing racial injustice in our society, ecosystems, and communities. Many small businesses across the country and in our southern and southeastern states have struggled economically due to Covid-19. We are glad to support this collaborative effort to help provide opportunities in communities that have been historically underserved.”

Thirteen CDFIs will originate loans purchased by the Fund, including Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Accion Opportunity Fund, Ascendus, BCL of Texas, Black Business Investment Fund, Communities Unlimited, LiftFund, NCIFund, NDC’s Community Investment Loan Fund, Pathway Lending, People Fund, Southern Bancorp Community Partners, and TruFund Financial Services. As a collaborative, these lenders have full reach across the region, have served on the front lines of the economic crisis and have decades of experience providing high-touch lending and advisory services to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The CDFIs will be supported by leading technical assistance and business support organizations including Winrock International, LISC’s local offices and national rural program, and Small Business Majority, which will help with outreach, education, and hands-on business advisory services. Calvert Impact Capital is arranging and LISC Fund Management is managing the Fund.

“TruFund is proud to be a member of the SOAR Fund Partnership,” said James H. Bason, President and CEO of TruFund Financial Services, a participating CDFI. “We are committed to rebuilding a stronger more resilient small business ecosystem particularly in communities that have suffered from the lack of access to affordable capital and whose vulnerabilities are now exacerbated by COVID-19 and the related economic impact.”

“Small businesses are not only essential to the fabric of our communities — creating jobs, providing valuable services and powering local economies — but they are also essential to the entrepreneurs who start them and the people they employ, in this case people who are historically underserved and adversely affected by the pandemic. It is imperative, then, that we help small businesses adapt, reopen safely and rebuild,” said Patricia McCall, Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Global Strategy at Winrock International. “SOAR offers potential business partners and donors an opportunity to join in this important mission.”

“We encourage all small business owners and nonprofits who need support to visit the website, learn about the Fund and sign up so you’re pre-registered once we launch the program,” said Patrick Davis, Vice President of Strategy at Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF).

When the Fund opens, CRF’s Connect2Capital platform will allow applicants to sign up online and get matched to a lender in less than five minutes.

The SOAR Fund covers: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

For more information, visit www.TheSoarFund.org.

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About the SOAR Fund

The Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund (SOAR) provides access to flexible, affordable capital and free business support services to small businesses and nonprofits through trusted community-based organizations. These organizations have decades of experience supporting historically under-resourced small businesses, including those in low-income and rural communities and owned by women and people of color.

SOAR is a collaborative partnership of local and national community finance organizations created to address the needs of historically disenfranchised communities as they navigate and rebuild from the COVID-19 crisis. SOAR includes leaders from across sectors including local community lenders, national and state-based nonprofit organizations, corporations, philanthropic donors, and investors – all who are passionate about an equitable recovery across the region.


PPP - What You Need to Know and How to Apply

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is an SBA loan program that can be fully forgivable. Find out if you're eligible and how to apply through Communities Unlimited for the loan that turns into a grant. A lender will be available to answer any questions.

*Registration closes 48 hours before the training event.