Small Business
November 2, 2015

Helping small businesses ‘start, stabilize, and grow’

Hope Enterprise Corporation, a nonprofit in Jackson, Mississippi, will use a $2 million grant from Wells Fargo to support commercial lending, outreach, and more for minority- and women-owned small businesses.

A nonprofit in Jackson, Mississippi, will use a $2 million grant from Wells Fargo to support commercial lending, outreach, and technical assistance programs for minority- and women-owned and led small businesses.

Hope Enterprise Corporation is a private, nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides commercial financing, mortgage loans, and technical assistance to small businesses, entrepreneurs, homebuyers, and community development projects in economically distressed areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee.

“A historic lack of capital in the mid-South has been exacerbated by post-recession bank branch closures in many distressed areas,” says Bill Bynum, CEO of HOPE. “Roughly 70 percent of the loans we make are to businesses in minority, rural, or low- and moderate-income communities that have difficulty securing the capital needed to start, stabilize, and grow. Access to quality technical assistance is also a pressing need in these underserved markets.”

Hope is one of three CDFI’s to receive loans or grants from the new Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital program, which launched Nov. 2.

Rosie Williams, a 90-year-old client.
Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation Credit Union, works with Rosie Williams, a 90-year-old client.
The founders of CiViLTech, a consulting engineering firm based in Jackson, Mississippi.
Michael Gates (left), Elmore Moody, and Tony Lewis make up CiViLTech, a consulting engineering firm that works with Hope Enterprise Corporation.

Wells Fargo’s three-year, $75 million loan and grant program will help CDFIs provide diverse-owned small businesses with access to capital, technical assistance, business planning, and other tools and resources. The Diverse Community Capital Program will provide $50 million in lending capital and $25 million in grant funds to CDFIs that work with diverse small business owners.

“CDFIs have their finger on the pulse of challenges that diverse small business owners face,” says Wells Fargo’s Megan Teare. “The Diverse Community Capital program will allow us to help CDFIs support these entrepreneurs from all angles – from providing help with creating stronger business plans, to accessing technology, to offering flexible financing.”

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