(MENAFN - Newswire.com LLC) WASHINGTON, February 11, 2019 (Newswire.com) - The Washington Area Community Investment Fund Inc. (Wacif) today joined partners from JPMorgan Chase, Capital Impact Partners, the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation and the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) to launch the Greater Washington, D.C., Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, a $6.65 million effort to forge new pathways for entrepreneurship and wealth building in the region's underserved communities.
'Equity is at the center of our work and to deepen Wacif's impact regionally, we need bold new strategic partnerships,' said Wacif Executive Director Harold Pettigrew. 'The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund will advance our efforts to make entrepreneurship more inclusive and provide small businesses with the capital needed to accelerate their growth throughout the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore regions.'
The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund expands access to capital for minority entrepreneurs. Launched by JPMC in Detroit in 2015, the program has since expanded to Chicago, San Francisco and the South Bronx. With a $3.6 million investment from Chase, $2 million from Capital Impact Partners and $1 million from the Clark Foundation, the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund will pair low-cost capital with business advisory services, including networking support and business coaching. The fund will focus on preserving and growing minority-owned businesses in commercial corridors, cultivating a new generation of minority housing developers and driving procurement opportunities with Washington-region anchor institutions.
'We know there are real opportunities to close the wealth divide and help the growth of entrepreneurs of color in the Washington region,' said Ted Archer, Executive Director of Small Business Forward at JPMorgan Chase, the umbrella division in charge of all the fund efforts. 'We are starting at a point now [with this fund] which is higher than we were before. The idea is absolutely to look for ways to scale this up.'
'There is no lack of inspirational business ideas being developed by entrepreneurs of color throughout the Washington, D.C., region,' said Capital Impact Partners President Ellis Carr. 'They just need a catalyst to see those ideas realized.'
The fund's launch is another exciting moment in Wacif's growth trajectory. In 2018, Wacif increased its loan volume by 60 percent (relative to 2017), with 100 percent of its lending going to businesses led by entrepreneurs of color. In addition, over 80 percent of Wacif's loan portfolio now consists of businesses led by entrepreneurs of color. In 2018, Wacif also more than doubled both its revenues and the number of clients served through its small business advisory services, while launching the D.C. Employee Ownership Initiative and being nominated for community leadership awards .
To learn more about the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund or how Wacif is driving equity and economic opportunity in the Washington region, please contact us at .
About the Washington Area Community Investment Fund
The Washington Area Community Investment Fund Inc. (Wacif) is one of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area's leading Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) focused on small business development. Wacif's mission is to increase equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities in the Washington, D.C., area by investing knowledge, social and financial capital in low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs. In the last seven years, Wacif has closed more than $9.2 million in loans and assisted over 2,000 entrepreneurs with coaching and technical assistance, sustaining more than 300 local jobs. Learn more at http://wacif.org .