Minority-Owned Small Businesses in Georgia Continue Recovery with $3 Million in Grants from Wells Fargo

Tuesday, July 6th, 2021

Wells Fargo today announced $3 million in grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to help underserved small businesses in rural and Southern Appalachian communities manage the economic effects of COVID-19. Wells Fargo has selected Appalachian Community Capital Development (ACC), Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) and Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) to join the Open for Business Fund, a nationwide small business recovery effort. The funding will help increase access to capital with low rate loans for minority-owned businesses in rural communities across Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and West Virginia.

The Open for Business Fund is a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs recover and rebuild. The initiative focuses on three key areas: increasing access to capital through CDFIs, technical assistance, and long-term recovery and resiliency programs. 

“The Open for Business Fund enlists the expertise of organizations like ACC, Carolina Small Business Development Fund and NCIFund to urgently assist small business owners with capital and technical assistance so they can preserve local jobs in some of the most negatively impacted communities,” said Juan Austin, Community Relations senior manager for Wells Fargo. “By working with these organizations and other CDFIs, we can ensure that local minority-owned small businesses receive the resources they need to keep their businesses open.”   

Funding four Black-led CDFIs across the Southeast

The Open for Business Fund grant to Appalachian Community Capital Development Foundation, a CDFI intermediary with more than 20 members serving Appalachia, will support four Black-led CDFIs. Piedmont Business Capital in North Carolina, Albany Community Together, Inc. (ACT!) in Georgia, Bronze Valley in Alabama, and Small Business Capital Fund of MS, Inc., in Mississippi, will each receive $75,000 for lending capital and/or convertible notes; $75,000 for operating capital, including loan loss reserves; and $50,000 to be used as grants to Black/African American owned businesses.

“We’re excited to be one of Wells Fargo’s Open for Business grant recipients,” said Donna Gambrell, President and CEO of Appalachian Community Capital. “The funds will boost ACC’s efforts to serve diverse communities and small business owners in the Appalachian Region, particularly minority-owned small businesses that have been hard hit by COVID-19.”

Supporting underserved entrepreneurs, including minorities, veterans, lower income individuals and firms in rural communities throughout North Carolina

Carolina Small Business Development Fund will use the funds to provide low-interest loans, ranging from $2,500 to $75,000 to small businesses for working capital and equipment purchases. Applicants will also be eligible for free technical assistance from CSBDF’s Business Solutions Team.

“CSBDF’s mission is to drive economic development in North Carolina through service to small businesses,” said Kevin Dick, CSBDF President and CEO. “By utilizing the grant from Wells Fargo, we will be able to pursue our mission in a flexible and comprehensive way throughout the State of North Carolina. Wells Fargo has once again stepped up for businesses in underserved communities through its investment in CSBDF.”

Serving businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs in rural and economically disadvantaged communities in North Carolina and West Virginia

Natural Capital Investment Fund will use the grant to launch the Building Equity (BE) Fund to rapidly deliver capital and high quality wrap around technical assistance to borrowers.

“Natural Capital Investment Fund will deploy the Building Equity Fund to deliver affordable capital and help Black-owned businesses increase their equity,” said Marten Jenkins, NCIFund CEO. “We couldn’t pursue this new approach without Wells Fargo’s support, and we’re grateful for the opportunity to deepen our commitment to serving disadvantaged entrepreneurs.”  

In 2020, Wells Fargo’s local giving in North Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi also included donating more than $38 million to fund nonprofits that are focused on providing capital, technical assistance and networks of support for entrepreneurs.