Tag: small business

Wells Fargo Invests $6.6 Million in Lending Capital and Grants for Black Businesses

by Jeffrey McKinney via blackenterprise.com

Wells Fargo, the nation’s third-largest bank, is awarding $6.6 million in lending capital and grants to 12 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) nationally that black-owned small businesses and others can use to flourish and create jobs.

The funding comes from the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program. The program includes targeting businesses owned by blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans. Along with boosting lending to diverse small businesses, the CDD funds are used by CDIFs to support initiatives that increase access to capital and resources. That support can include providing technical assistance, marketing, and other help such as coaching and education that the businesses perhaps need to grow.

The CDFIs are private, nonprofit financial institutions focused on providing responsible and affordable lending to underserved populations and communities.

 “The combination of debt, grant, and social capital makes the DCC program unique,” Connie Smith, Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital program manager, said in a statement. “The social capital component allows CDFIs to collaborate, innovate, and better serve diverse small businesses—and when our small businesses succeed, so do the communities they serve.”

Wells Fargo claims by financing community businesses—including small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate and affordable housing—CDFIs spark job growth and retention in U.S. communities. Wells Fargo has committed $75 million to CDFIs since January 2016. Four rounds of awards have been done in 2016 and 2017, exceeding $55 million to date. 

The  Round Four DCC recipients include:

Funds from round four were distributed to many black-owned businesses. Round five just closed, but round six will open May 1, 2018. Grants typically range from $50,000 to $500,000, while loans are generally between $100,000 to several million, according to the bank.

For more details about the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital program, visit https://ofn.org/wells-fargo-dcc


New Crowdfunding Site Specializes In Funding African-American Ventures


African-Americans have little-to-no representation in the technology sector, especially when it comes to dot-com businesses. Fortunately, William Michael Cunningham has created a platform specifically for African-Americans and women of all races.BlackCrowdFunding.net allows is a new crowdfunding platform that allows people to contribute to ventures created by African-Americans and/or women of all races.

In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Cunningham discussed the nature of his business. “Most people start a business by taking out loans on their houses or going to friends and family and raising money that way,” Cunningham said. “If you’re in a demographic where your housing wealth has been impacted significantly negatively, then that’s less of an option with respect to raising capital.”

Crowdfunding has been known to launch very successful projects, including the YouTube series “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl.” Cunningham said that crowdfunding presents a more promising option. Incase you’re unfamiliar with the term crowdfunding, it’s a method by which an entrepreneur can raise money for his or her start-up online by collecting small investments or donations from a large number of people. “The idea is that crowdfunding is a tool that can be used to get resources to low to moderate income communities in way that we haven’t seen before,” Cunningham said.

The site already has a number of ventures seeking funding, including an education on identity theft, a boutique, a garden, and a pride t-shirt, and more.

article by Maria Lloyd via techyville.com

TV’s White Spaces Connecting Rural Africa

Using a computer by firelightWide open spaces: Projects like the one in Nanyuki could let people in the more remote areas connect to the internet

Beatrice Nderango is the headmistress of Gakawa Secondary School, which lies about 10km from Nanyuki, a market town in Kenya’s rift valley, not far from the Mount Kenya national park.  The school is situated in a village that has no phone line and no electricity. The people that live here are mostly subsistence farmers.

Going online: The schools are being supplied with computers as part of the project

“We don’t really have a cash crop, but the farmers do a bit of farming,” says Mrs Nderango.  “They grow potatoes, a little bit of maize, but we don’t do well in maize because of the wild animals. They invade the farms.” 

Although Kenya has fibre optic broadband thanks to the Seacom cable, most of rural Kenya is not connected and until now getting online would mean traveling to town.

But all of this is changing, thanks to technology that uses the unused parts of the wireless spectrum that is set aside for television broadcasters – the white spaces.

The project is part of the 4Afrika Initiative, an investment program being announced by technology giant Microsoft, that also includes a new Windows Phone 8 smartphone for the region and investment in help for small businesses on the continent, and in education and internships. Continue reading “TV’s White Spaces Connecting Rural Africa”

Baltimore Launches Micro-Loan Program for Small Businesses

To help small businesses in the Baltimore area, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is launching a micro-loan fund to assist owners in hiring and stabilizing their businesses. The program, named BaltimoreMICRO, will enable small businesses with under $1 million in annual revenue to apply for loans that range in amounts from $5,000 to $30,000. To be eligible for the BaltimoreMICRO program, businesses must be based in Baltimore City. The owner of the business must also have a personal credit score of 650 or higher.

“[Small businesses] bring residents together and create a buzz that attracts people from throughout the region,” Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. “We want that to happen in more of Baltimore’s neighborhoods, and we must do what we can to support that. Baltimore’s neighborhoods that have experienced growth and revival in the past few years are known not only for their unique homes and character, but also for their small businesses, including stores and restaurants.”

Continue reading “Baltimore Launches Micro-Loan Program for Small Businesses”

Education For Entrepreneurs on a Budget

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  -Nelson Mandela

We’ve all heard soaring quotes about the value of an education. The poetry of these words has never been more practical. Today’s business world requires entrepreneurs to make education a priority.

More than keeping you on the top of your game, learning improves your bottom line. Whether you take a class in calligraphy or small business principles, growing your expertise will save you from spending money on consultants and cleaning up after your own mistakes.

With the ramifications of the student loan crisis looming, students and institutions alike are looking for better ways to signal knowledge and skills to employers. Educational institutions are rethinking the way they teach and experimenting with technology to democratize education. In the future, a resume may display a digital badge, showing the completion of an online course rather than a degree.

The debate on the future of education is nowhere near settled. In the meantime, entrepreneurs and life long learners can take advantage of the benefits coming out of the discussion.  Class is in session with the best minds in the world, and tuition is free.

Online courses lack the intimacy of the classroom. Some websites offer assignments and quizzes to track your learning. But, don’t expect the same experience as an in-classroom course.

Continue reading “Education For Entrepreneurs on a Budget”

Tattoo Artist Imani K. Brown Promotes Creativity and Craft in the Body Art World

Imani Brown Tuskegee Airmen Tattoo

One of the oldest and most prevalent cultural practices across the globe, tattooing has become increasingly popular in the African-American community. Yet while this group has demonstrated a growing affinity for receiving tattoos, the number of licensed black artists practicing the profession is much smaller by comparison. Add gender to the mix, and the number dwindles even further.

“I want to believe there are more of us [women], but so far, there are very, very few,” African-American tattoo artist Imani K. Brown, 32, told theGrio. ”I know about two in Detroit. That’s it.”  Being a black tattoo professional has placed the artist in a strange caste. “People think we’re on the darker side of life,” said Brown, referring to misconceptions about her line of work.  ”That we’re all rockstars and worship the devil.”

Yet, Brown is a trained artist who hails from Washington D.C.’s Pinz-N-Needlez Tattoo, one of the few black-owned and operated shops in the country. To add further distinction, she is documented as only the second licensed black female tattoo artist in America. She recently learned of the first accredited black female artist, 66-year-old Jacci Gresham of New Orleans, upon watching the new documentary Color Outside The Linesby black tattoo artist Miya Bailey and filmmaker Artemus JenkinsBrown is also featured in the film.

Continue reading “Tattoo Artist Imani K. Brown Promotes Creativity and Craft in the Body Art World”

Microloans Becoming Growing Source Of Capital For Minorities and Women In The US

From Madame Noire Business: For years, microloans have provided a gateway to self-sufficiency for the poor around the world. Now increasing numbers of entrepreneurs here in the U.S. are taking advantage of these small loans to finance their businesses. Continue reading “Microloans Becoming Growing Source Of Capital For Minorities and Women In The US”