REDC and 5 Other Groups Receive Funding From Wells Fargo to Help Small Businesses Recover From Covid

Press Release from Wells Fargo – February 12, 2021:

New York – Wells Fargo has announced that six New York-based Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (REDC), 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.

In addition to REDC,  which received $1.6 million, 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) and Pursuit Community Finance ($1 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.”

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 REDC 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.”

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.”

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 REDC’s website to learn more about available services and apply for financial assistance.

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