Women are more likely to start a small business than men, but they are more likely to struggle obtaining financing. Our content partner Nav.com explains why women-owned businesses hit a financial glass ceiling and how you can break it.

 

A new report released by SCORE reveals some interesting data regarding small businesses, particularly women-owned small businesses. Of the 28 million small businesses in the United States, 39% are owned by women, which increased by 45% from 2007 to 2016 and continues to rise. Women are more likely to start a business than men, enjoy equal success as measured by business starts, revenue growth, job creation, and time in business. And while men are more likely to operate in the construction and manufacturing industries, women are more likely to open businesses in healthcare or education. Women-owned businesses employ almost 9 million people and bring in over $1.6 trillion in revenue. While these figures are impressive, there are some concerns found in the data.

Despite the growth in the number of women-owned businesses, these entities have remained static in revenue shares at only 4% of the nation’s business revenues, a point which hasn’t seen much growth if any over the last 20 years. In contrast, businesses owned by men have declined in their share of U.S. enterprises since the early 2000s, but their revenue shares have stayed consistent in relation to the changing number of entities. Of the businesses that responded to the survey, 34% of men-owned businesses have been in business for more than 10 years, compared to only 28% of women-owned businesses.

These numbers certainly raise concerns about the longevity and sustainability of women-owned businesses. Could this be a product of a lack of mentorship or other barriers to success?

The Glass Ceiling of Financing

In addition to revenue and years in business, the study highlighted several key indicators to determine how successful a business is, including hiring rates and access to financing. Over the last year, a larger proportion of men-owned businesses (30%) saw an increase in hiring compared to women-owned businesses (27%). Some of the women entrepreneurs responded that they would like to hire more full-time employees, but have to stick with interns, contractors, or part-time employees because funds are low in their business.

When asked why they sought out financing, a nearly equal proportion of men and women responded that they needed financing to hire a new employee. The statistics show that 34% of men compared to 25% of women search out financing, and that 38% of men versus 31% of women who apply for financing actually obtain it.

Women-owned businesses are slightly more likely to depend on credit cards or non-SBA loans for financing as opposed to men-owned businesses, whereas men are more likely to use equity raised from investors to fund their business. While experience and networking can help find better financing options, it’s always important to make sure your business credit profile is in tip-top shape. You can check your business and personal credit score for free with Nav before you seek better financing options.

Some of the differences between men and women business owners may boil down to mentoring, a topic the study addressed. The numbers clearly suggest that small business owners who work with a mentor or are under a mentorship program enjoy more success than those who don’t. While the numbers pertaining to revenue, hiring, and access to financing show that women-owned businesses are at a disadvantage, there are indeed resources available to help them take the next step forward.

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

 

We look forward to helping your business succeed. Right now, if you sign up for free mentoring assistance, you’ll receive up to a 2% discount on your loan’s annual interest rate. If you have questions about this loan offer or other small-business loans for women, visit ofew.org, or contact us at ofew@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. Here are five free food truck blogs.

Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

National Food Trucks

What it does: Although National Food Trucks doesn’t update their blog very frequently, what they do produce are great pieces that inspire, inform, and celebrate food trucks. From location-specific success stories, to adrenaline pumping pieces about greedy event bookers – you’ll find something useful and interesting to read here.

Food Truck Operator

What it does: Food Truck Operator should be your go-to source for food truck news. They update several times a month whenever something new comes out that would be beneficial to you as a mobile food entrepreneur. There’s a little bit of everything on this helpful blog: inspiring success stories, latest news and legislation, helpful business tips, and more.

Food Truck Empire

What it does: Another frequent poster, Food Truck Empire offers interesting articles about unique food trucks, new market trends, out-of-the-box business tips, and more. Keep updated with this food truck blog for a well-rounded knowledge about what’s changing in the mobile food industry.

Roaming Hunger

What it does: Roaming Hunger boasts several topics of articles from “experiential marketing” and “recipes” to “weddings” and “the office.” Why are wedding blog posts interesting to food truck owners? This blog not only offers insightful pieces that are helpful for you to read, but they also have lots of pro-food truck articles for your own business to share on your social media to help spread the word and attract big gigs.

Foodtruckr

What it does: Foodtruckr’s blog is full of motivation, inspiration, tips and tricks. This is definitely an amazing resource for you to grow your mobile food business, written by food truck experts for other entrepreneurs.

 

We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources including tools to promote to small business owners like you. If you have a tool you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans including Mobile Food Truck loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

Opportunity Fund featured on Mt. Shasta News 

A Program Created to Make More Loans Available for Small Business Owners

Coupling credit needs with some strategic assistance while developing a business is “the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity,” according to Jefferson Economic Development Institute Executive Director Nancy Swift.

That recipe is at the foundation of Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, a pilot program in which Women’s Business Center at JEDI is participating with the goal of making more loans available to small business owners.

The program offers working capital loans that reward borrowers with 2% off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through the Women’s Business Center at JEDI.

Such mentoring has been shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue, according to research and surveys.

Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000.

A loan review will consider aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Once approved, small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, according to a press release.

While the program is geared toward women, JEDI Program & Marketing Coordinator Jenny Payton said funds are available to men as well.

Opportunity Fund, described in a press release as the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and a national leader for the microfinance movement, announced the Empowering Women program last week.

It describes the pilot program with Women’s Business Center at JEDI as an effort “to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses.”

“We are so thrilled to be part of this innovative approach to getting more women the credit they deserve and need to grow their businesses,” Swift states in the release. “We applaud the discount that the Opportunity Fund is giving to those women who couple their credit need with some strategic assistance to develop their business. This is the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity. We know more women in the CA North State need capital for their businesses and we are pleased to be partners with the Opportunity Fund in providing that capital and assistance to truly thrive.”

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.”

The press release points to this “Women-owned Small Business Snapshot:”

‒ One in three small businesses is woman-owned and 99 percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses.

‒ Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.

‒ Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses.

‒ Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006.

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy. “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment, according to the press release. “Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess the landscape on what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing our own financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.”

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Women’s Business Center at JEDI at info@e-jedi.org call (530) 926-6670, or visitwww.e-jedi.org.

Opportunity Fund featured on Siskiyou Daily  News

JEDI Partners with Opportunity Fund

Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, announced recently the Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, a pilot program with Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute to educate, mentor and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses.

Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, announced recently the Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, a pilot program with Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute to educate, mentor and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses.

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2 percent off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through JEDI, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue, stated a recent press release from JEDI.

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved, the release said. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000.

Opportunity Fund has partnered with LURN, and several like-minded partners throughout the state including Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Leadership for Urban Renewal in Southern California to pilot Opportunity Fund Empowering Women by providing mentoring and technical assistance to borrowers.

“We are so thrilled to be part of this innovative approach to getting more women the credit they deserve and need to grow their businesses,” states Nancy Swift, JEDI executive director and host to the Women’s Business Center. “We applaud the discount that the Opportunity Fund is giving to those women who couple their credit need with some strategic assistance to develop their business. This is the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity. We know more women in the CA North State need capital for their businesses and we are pleased to be partners with the Opportunity Fund in providing that capital and assistance to truly thrive.”

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.”

Women-owned Small Business Snapshot:

‒ One in three small businesses is woman-owned and 99 percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses.

‒ Women-owned businesses account for 39 percent of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16 percent of all traditional business loans.

‒ Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses.

‒ Latina owned businesses have grown 137 percent since 2006.

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, vice president of Research and Policy. “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess the landscape on what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing our own financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Women’s Business Center at JEDI at info@e-jedi.org, call (530) 926-6670 or visit www.e-jedi.org.

All loan applications are subject to credit review; 2 percent discount applies when applicants sign up for JEDI’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

JEDI is committed to increasing the economic well-being of people and communities through business development and local wealth creation. Operating in the far northern regions of California for the past 21 years, JEDI has assisted thousands of women and men start and grow business and get the capital they need. JEDI celebrates the growth of small businesses as an economic revival tool for people, families and the communities they live and operate in.

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

OPPORTUNITY FUND, THE NATION’S LEADING NONPROFIT SMALL BUSINESS LENDER, AND WOMEN’S BUSINESS CENTER AT JEDI ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WOMEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS 

Mt. Shasta, CA – Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, today announced Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), a pilot program with Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses. 

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2%*off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through JEDI, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue. 

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000. 

Opportunity Fund has partnered with JEDI, and several like-minded community partners throughout the state including Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Leadership for Urban Renewal in Southern California to pilot Opportunity Fund Empowering Women by providing mentoring and technical assistance to borrowers. 

“We are so thrilled to be part of this innovative approach to getting more women the credit they deserve and need to grow their businesses” states Nancy Swift, JEDI Executive Director and host to the Women’s Business Center.  “We applaud the discount that the Opportunity Fund is giving to those women who couple their credit need with some strategic assistance to develop their business.  This is the secret sauce to sustainability and prosperity.  We know more women in the CA North State need capital for their businesses and we are pleased to be partners with the Opportunity Fund in providing that capital and assistance to truly thrive.”

 “By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.” 

Women-owned Small Business Snapshot: 

  • One in three small businesses is woman-owned and ninety-nine percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses. 
  • Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.
  • Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses. 
  • Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006. 

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy.  “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Women’s Business Center at JEDI at info@e-jedi.org call (530) 926-6670, or visit www.e-jedi.org. 

*All loan applications are subject to credit review.  2% discount applies when applicants sign up for JEDI’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

JEDI is committed to increasing the economic well-being of people and communities through business development and local wealth creation.  Operating in the far northern regions of CA for the past 21 years, JEDI has assisted thousands of women and men start and grow business and get the capital they need.  We celebrate the growth of small businesses as an economic revival tool for people, families and the communities they live and operate in. www.e-jedi.org. 

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org.

Download the Press Release PDF

For Immediate Release

Contact: Marika Rose, marikarose@surewest.net 916-601-9737

OPPORTUNITY FUND, THE NATION’S LEADING NONPROFIT SMALL BUSINESS LENDER, AND FRESNO AREA HISPANIC FOUNDATION ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR CENTRAL VALLEY WOMEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS 

Fresno, CA – Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, today announced Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), a pilot program with Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation (FAHF) to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses. 

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2%* off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring through FAHF, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue.

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000. 

 “Building on our existing and successful partnership to provide micro-loans through Opportunity Fund, this initiative helps us ramp up our efforts to help women small business owners access affordable and responsible credit to grow their businesses,” said Dora Westerlund, CEO, Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Downtown Business Hub. “Coupled with our robust women’s business mentoring programs, like Mujeres Hablando de Business, this loan program allows women entrepreneurs to realize their dreams of achieving economic growth and mobility.” 

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women.”

Women-owned Small Business Snapshot: 

  • One in three small businesses is woman-owned and ninety-nine percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses. 
  • Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.
  • Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses. 
  • Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006. 

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy.  “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation at hola@fresnoahf.org, call (559) 222-8705 or visit www.fresnoahf.org. 

*All loan applications are subject to credit review.  2% discount applies when applicants sign up for FAHF’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation was founded in 2004 to meet the needs of the growing Fresno area Hispanic business community. Through its Downtown Business Hub incubator, FAHF provides mentoring and technical assistance, micro loan programs, and a one-stop service center for small businesses. www.fresnoahf.org.

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org.

 

Download the Press Release PDF

For Immediate Release

OPPORTUNITY FUND, THE NATION’S LEADING NONPROFIT SMALL BUSINESS LENDER, AND LEADERSHIP FOR URBAN RENEWAL NETWORK ANNOUNCE PARTNERSHIP TO INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR WOMEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS IN CALIFORNIA

Los Angeles, CA – Opportunity Fund, the largest nonprofit lender to small businesses in California and national leader for the microfinance movement, today announced Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), a pilot program with Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) to educate, mentor, and provide access to affordable, responsible capital for women-owned small businesses. 

The program offers working capital loans that rewards borrowers with 2%* off the annual interest rate when they apply for free business coaching through LURN, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue. 

An OFEW loan review considers certain aspects of the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved. Loan amounts range from $5,000 up to $100,000. 

Opportunity Fund has partnered with LURN, and several like-minded community partners throughout the state including Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute to pilot Opportunity Fund Empowering Women by providing mentoring and technical assistance to borrowers. 

“We are excited to support Opportunity Fund’s OFEW campaign. LURN is committed to supporting the State’s most vulnerable entrepreneurs to ensure they have equitable access to resources to flourish their businesses, said Azusena Favela, Director of Programs, LURN.  

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we strengthen communities, families and local economies,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund. “When I was an entrepreneur, I remember being denied credit and the long path to growing and scaling businesses. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for hardworking women business owners and entrepreneurs.”

 Women-owned Small Business Snapshot: 

  • One in three small businesses is woman-owned and ninety-nine percent of women-owned businesses are small businesses. 
  • Women-owned businesses account for 39% of all U.S. firms, but receive only 16% of all traditional business loans.
  • Women of color lead four out of ten small businesses. 
  • Latina owned businesses have grown 137% since 2006. 

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the systematic barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy.  “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. This campaign puts that effort into practice on a deeper level.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.

For more information or to apply for a loan through Opportunity Fund Empowering Women, contact LURN at SemiaFund@lurnetwork.org or call (323) 604-9765.

*All loan applications are subject to credit review.  2% discount applies when applicants sign up for LURN’s program. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609.

Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) is a non-profit organization focused on policy, advocacy, and economic development initiatives in undervalued communities. Our loan fund and technical assistance program was shaped by the needs of micro-entrepreneurs in the City of Los Angeles. We believe that micro-entrepreneurs are the critical to any thriving community and should have equitable access to resources. www.lurnetwork.org.

Opportunity Fund believes that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has helped thousands of families earn, save and invest in their own futures. As the nation’s largest nonprofit CDFI supporting small businesses, Opportunity Fund provided more than 2,000 loans to underserved small businesses owners last year, totaling $65 million in investments that created and sustained 6,300 jobs. www.OpportunityFundLoan.org.

 

Download the Press Release PDF

Originally published in LA OPINIÓN
Luz Urrutia arrived from Venezuela at the age of 17 and finished university studies in the United States that began in Caracas. She found a job at Wachovia Bank (acquired by Wells Fargo during the great recession) in Atlanta and one of the things she did at the time was apply for a credit card. They denied it for lack of credit history. Today she runs a California institution, the Opportunity Fund, which lends to small businesses and funds community development.
The anecdote of being refused a credit card, repeated in countless cases of immigrants, was a difficult and decisive lesson “180%” to guide the mission of her work, she explains to this newspaper. She learned that banks make things very difficult for immigrants and newcomers.
“That was when I made the promise to establish, one day, a organization to offer affordable and responsible financial services that would be open to  people who did not have access to a bank.
Urrutia worked at Wachocia for 18 years ” they were wonderful but I wondered if I was having the impact I wanted to have on other peoples lives.”
To answer this question she joined other people in order to create the Bank of Our Community, based in Georgia. It’s mission was to serve the Latino population that did not have bank accounts or did not use them very often. “the immigrant spirit was inside me and along with other people we started writing the business plan and raising capital for the bank we opened in April 2001.”
We opened accounts, cashed checks, facilitated payment of bills, prepared credit  cards and loans for mortgages,” they ended up with $600 million in assets, she recalls. The bank was sold in 2013 and she went to work at Oporturn, formerly known as Progreso Financiero, and they expanded with new branches into several states.
Speaking  of the Bank Of Our Community, Urrutia explained that “it shows the great opportunity that there was in the market, at that time and that now there’s even more for banks and financial institutions like Opportunity Fund that offer responsible services with credibility that can help consumers,” she explains.

Urrutia became the CEO of Opportunity Fund in late August. It is a non-profit financial institution based in California created 25 years ago by Eric Weaver for community development. “Workers are helped to save, earn and invest in their future. The focus has been on small businesses and college students so they can finish their degree and save, “she explains.

Clients are not necessarily Hispanic but as their business is focused in California, many of the small businesses they have served are. The profile of our client is a company that has little credit history or do not have collateral and that a bank has rejected their loan application. “We have a somewhat more expansive credit application methodology [than traditional banking], with alternative data that improves credit score and which are not always seen on a credit report.”
Among its clients, it lists, there are businesses with few assets, sole proprietorships that need $ 25,000 or $ 30,000 and small established companies that need a bigger financial push but do not meet the requirements that a regular bank would ask of them.
And they also work with food trucks. They work directly with the manufacturers to be able to finance them.
Urrutia’s goal as the head of Opportunity Fund is to solidify aspects of the strategic plan for 2017 to 2020. One is to make commercial loans of about $ 500 million that directly impact about 50,000 people. Most of this $ 400 million capital will be devoted to just over 9,000 small businesses, the rest going to infrastructure projects in communities and education for college students.
A couple of years ago Opportunity Fund realized that the need for its products is greater than just California and they are expanding through partnerships. The first has been with Lending Club through which they are making loans in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington and New York.
“New York is a wonderful market for our model because it has many small businesses and there not many financial products aimed at micro-businesses,” she explains.
The reality of the partnership with Lending Club is shown by the fact that if they deny a loan, but it falls within the parameters of Opportunity Fund, they will automatically review the pre-screened applicants and then fund qualifying loans..
Urrutia says that in addition to working on that strategic plan and managing a healthy and responsible loan portfolio, she wants to better understand her customers, “the products we offer can expand entrepreneurs ability to improve their cash flow.”

To the entrepreneurs who have difficulty getting funded Urrutia tells them not to give up. “There are opportunities and institutions that can help them grow with technical assistance and financial advice”.

She admits that many times the founders of small businesses think they have no options and resort to loans and predatory firms that charge very high rates. “It is important that microentrepreneurs do their homework before taking money and that they do not work with companies that can destroy their credit.”
Multiplier Effect
“with each loan we make we create three jobs and for every dollar invested, two in economic activity.” Luz Urrutia

Listen Here

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez and Opportunity Fund small business borrower David Anderson sit down with Tammy Trujillo of KLAA Community Cares to discuss small business lending and what Opportunity Fund can do for your small business.

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org