Harlem’s Grameen America Awarded $400,000 From Wells Fargo To Spark Diverse Small Business Growth

Wells Fargo & Company announced Harlem, New York-based Grameen America was awarded $400,000 in grant funds and $7.5 million in lending capital through the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital program.

The Diverse Community Capital program awards lending capital and grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), like Grameen America, which in turn deliver responsible, affordable financial products to diverse small business owners who do not typically have access to conventional financing. Wells Fargo has now exceeded its initial $75 million commitment for the Diverse Community Capital program, and an additional $100 million from the Wells Fargo Foundation has already been pledged to continue the program at least into 2020.

With the latest round of funding, Wells Fargo reaffirmed its commitment to CDFIs serving urban centers, like New York, recognizing the importance of supporting diverse small businesses in the nation’s largest cities.

“Diverse female small business owners in Harlem and Newark who would not otherwise have access to the resources needed to start or grow their businesses will now have resources through our support of Grameen America,”

“Diverse female small business owners in Harlem and Newark who would not otherwise have access to the resources needed to start or grow their businesses will now have resources through our support of Grameen America,” said Deborah Smith, Community Affairs Manager for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. “The Diverse Community Capital program is just one of the ways we’re proud to support
the growth of the local economy.”

They anticipate reaching over 1,700 African-American women entrepreneurs by the end of 2020 with $9 million in microloans.

The grant will support Grameen America’s growth in Harlem, New York, and Newark, New Jersey, enabling the organization to reach a diverse population of low-income women entrepreneurs with their microloan, and asset- and credit-building programs. In Harlem, the funds will enhance program operations and oversight, staff training and expansion, and technical support. They anticipate reaching over 1,700 African-American women entrepreneurs by the end of 2020 with $9 million in microloans. In Newark, the funds will help Grameen America’s young branch there, allowing the organization to expand its staff and programs to reach the city’s diverse communities.
Their goal is to reach over 2,500 low-income women entrepreneurs in Newark by the end of 2020 with over $14 million in microloans.

“This funding is crucial to our efforts to expand opportunity for women living in poverty in Harlem and Newark,” said Andrea Jung, President, and CEO of Grameen America. “We will be able to reach more women entrepreneurs who want to build their businesses, create jobs, and help revitalize local communities.”

…awardees have closed more than $391 million through more than 8,000 loans to diverse small business clients. Diverse small businesses that received loans from awardee CDFIs have retained more than 21,000 jobs and created more than 15,000 jobs as a result of accessing the capital and development services they needed.

Across the country, Diverse Community Capital awardees have closed more than $391 million through more than 8,000 loans to diverse small business clients. Diverse small businesses that received loans from awardee CDFIs have retained more than 21,000 jobs and created more than 15,000 jobs as a result of accessing the capital and development services they needed.

The Diverse Community Capital program is a collaboration between Wells Fargo and Opportunity Finance Network, a national network of CDFIs. Opportunity Finance Network offers a social capital component of the program, which focuses on helping CDFIs grow stronger through activities including in-person networking, mentorship, consulting and peer learning.

Pictured from left to right: Jill Monum, Senior Director, Corporate Partnerships & Engagement at Grameen America, Deborah Smith, NY, NJ, CT Community Affairs Manager, Wells Fargo, Alethia Mendez, Vice President, Operations & Program Strategy at Grameen America, Mindee Barham, Vice President of Development at Grameen America, and Catherine Domenech, New York Community Relations Senior Consultant, Wells Fargo.

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