In our “Where Are They Now” series, we highlight five of the City of Charlotte Small Business Partner Support Grant recipients to check in on their new COVID-19 impact relief programs, learn more about the organization and see what they are up to.
Tell us about your organization – how do you support the Charlotte small business community?
Carolina Small Business Development Fund’s mission is to foster economic development in underserved communities by providing capital, business services, and policy research to support small businesses. Our ultimate goal is to offer an accessible pathway for small business success to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. That goal is achieved through a three-pronged approach which encompasses: (1) affordable financing, (2) comprehensive technical assistance, and (3) evidence-based policy research. By helping entrepreneurs reach their business ownership dreams, we seek to grow and support the primary engine of neighborhood-level economic growth.
The City of Charlotte’s grant has allowed Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) to amplify our footprint and reach into the Charlotte community. CSBDF has been serving the Charlotte community for 30 years as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the state of North Carolina. As of June 2020, we have provided more than 234 small business loans totaling over $8.9 million in capital within the City of Charlotte alone, which borrowers reported has created or retained 1,248 jobs. Over 61% of these loans have gone to minority borrowers, 28% to low-income borrowers, and 33% to women.
Additionally, in April 2020, CSBDF partnered with Mecklenburg County government to launch a small business COVID-19 loan program that has injected over $4.5M in capital to small businesses during the pandemic.
How has funding from the Small Business Partner Support Grant helped your organization?
The Small Business Partner Support Grant has helped build the capacity of our organization to meet the ever-increasing demand for our services. Now more than ever, our organization has needed to streamline and adapt our ability to collect data, track outcomes, and streamline our client intake process.
Funds from this grant have not only supported our COVID-19 focused programming, but much-needed technology infrastructure to keep up with our expanding services and virtual curriculum. Because of this grant, CSBDF has been able to invest Salesforce updates to capture data to better serve our clients, build a business needs assessment for Charlotte entrepreneurs that will be scaled up to help service clients statewide, and expand the content available to small businesses in our digital learning library.
Has the Small Business Partner Support Grant allowed your organization to create anything new?
The Small Business Partner Support grant allowed CSBDF to spearhead a brand new Needs Assessment. This free assessment provides businesses with a tailored action plan to meet their specific recovery needs, in addition to a list of partners that can help them with specific business solutions. CSBDF has collaborated with WCNC Charlotte and other local partners to market this program to hundreds of people in the community, and to date, over 114 Charlotte businesses have taken advantage of the free assessment and action plans.
Funding has also allowed CSBDF to develop 15 new virtual trainings on COVID-19 small business recovery topics focused on disaster risk management, marketing and social media, business financial management, and access to capital. Several courses are offered in English and Spanish. To view and register for upcoming workshops, please visit: http://bit.ly/carolinasmallbiztraining.
This new initiative will serve as a template that will not only help small businesses in the City of Charlotte but will be utilized as a model to serve small businesses throughout the state of NC.