Riverside, Calif – Oct. 28, 2019 – Wells Fargo announced a new boost to diverse small businesses today with a $300,000 grant to Accion, focusing on expanding access to capital for Hispanic, African-American and other diverse small business owners across San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Accion Serving Southern California is a member of Accion – a nationwide nonprofit micro-lender network dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs with accessible funding and other financial resources. Wells Fargo’s funding will help support Accion programs and services including its successful Rapid Loan product which offers small businesses up to $8,000 in funding in as few as three days.
The grant is part of the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program, which offers capital and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses as a way to create local jobs and strengthen neighborhoods. Accion is also a 2017 DCC grant recipient and since then has served more than 500 diverse business owners in four Southern California counties (Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego) through more than $8 million in loans.
“Wells Fargo has been one of Accion’s largest financial supporters since we started in San Diego in 1994,” stated Accion CEO Elizabeth Schott. “We are thrilled to receive this funding to expand our lending program and serve more diverse entrepreneurs that need access to affordable lending products. This grant highlights the need for both technical assistance and funding to grow small businesses.”
This grant will go toward helping Accion clients like Eduardo Corona, owner of commercial trucking company Road Bear located in Riverside. Corona received $38,000 in loans from Accion which served as working capital to help purchase his own truck. Since receiving his loan, Corona has been able to increase his income by more than 40%, allowing him to grow his business and better provide for his family of six – further demonstrating the effectiveness of pairing financing with an individualized technical assistance plan, which Accion provides.
“Accion is deeply embedded in the community and has the skill to deliver personalized coaching and services to underserved small business owners,” said Joe Mishriki, North County Inland region bank president. “Together we can help more diverse entrepreneurs reach their full potential and stimulate job creation in the process. We’ve learned that working with CDFIs is an effective way to try new things, help remove barriers and put more small businesses on a path to financial success.”
As part of its new philanthropic strategy announced in June, Wells Fargo is focusing on three societal challenges: housing affordability, small business growth and financial health. The Diverse Community Capital program is a critical component to the small business strategy and supports business owners who are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian/Pacific Islander, Asian-American, women, veterans, LGBTQ, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups.
Launched in 2015, the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program is a collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). According to OFN’s latest report, DCC awardees have already made loans to more than 16,000 diverse small businesses across 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In addition, grant funding has provided for more than 322,000 hours of development services for over 49,000 diverse small business owners. Wells Fargo is on track to invest more than $175 million in diverse small businesses growth through 2020.
To honor the occasion, Wells Fargo and Accion hosted an open house event at Accion-funded business Cali Coast Barbershop in Lemon Grove, Calif. Wells Fargo representatives, Accion staff and clients and community leaders gathered for a community conversation to discuss the importance of investing in diverse small businesses. The event included catering from Tamales Jovita, another Accion-funded business that has benefited from Wells Fargo’s support through this grant. Assemblymember Shirley Weber was also in attendance.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,700 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 33 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 262,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2019 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
Accion is dedicated to empowering entrepreneurs by providing business support and access to capital in Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. By providing loans ranging from $300 to $75,000, it creates opportunity for increased income, economic stability and employment. For more information or to contact the San Diego office, visit the Accion website or call 619-795-7250.