Funding aimed at helping racially and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs in Southern California impacted by COVID-19
SAN DIEGO – Nov. 20, 2020 – Wells Fargo today announced a $2 million small business recovery grant to microlender Accion serving Southern California (Accion), to help businesses manage the economic effects of COVID-19 during the holiday season and beyond. Wells Fargo’s funding will support Accion’s COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Loan Program for Racially & Ethnically Diverse Entrepreneurs, aimed at providing loans to small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic in Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.
The grant is part of Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund program, which launched in July as an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs recover and rebuild. The initiative focuses on increasing access to capital, technical expertise and long-term resiliency programs for diverse small businesses – with a focus on Black, African American, Latinx, Asian American, American Indian, and Alaskan Native entrepreneurs.
“Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund is another avenue of support and enlists the expertise of organizations like Accion to urgently help Southern California small businesses recover and preserve the jobs they provide in the community,” said Brian Lee, San Diego Region Bank President. “Our hope is that this will serve as a catalyst to help jumpstart our local economy and help even more diverse small businesses throughout the region.”
Accion’s relief and recovery loans will range in size between $5,500 and $35,000 with a 2.99% interest rate. Loan terms will be flexible for up to 60 months and offer small business clients an initial 6-month payment deferral to preserve their cash flow and limit payment burden. Additional grant support will help cover the client’s closing fees so that the capital is accessible with no up-front costs. Funding will support Accion’s loan deployment and servicing efforts while also providing education and resource support to help sustain and grow the fund’s impact in the future.
“We are grateful to Wells Fargo for this dedicated funding to support racially and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs with access to capital, resources and education. This is a long-term investment in the communities we serve, and as loans are repaid the capital will revolve and support additional entrepreneurs for decades to come,” says Elizabeth Schott, Accion serving Southern California’s CEO. “Our team will continue to work alongside entrepreneurs during this critical time in our history to challenge systemic barriers, educate, and provide equitable opportunities to access capital and resources to cultivate our clients’ dreams, economic mobility and knowledge.”
The Accion COVID-19 Relief & Recovery Loan Program for Racially & Ethnically Diverse Entrepreneurs will begin accepting applications on Friday, November 20, 2020. Eligible small businesses in San Diego, Imperial, Riverside and San Bernardino counties are encouraged to apply.
For additional program details and eligibility requirements, please visit https://socal.accion.org/loans
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.92 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,200 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 31 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
About Accion serving Southern California
Accion has been serving the Southern California small business community with access to capital, education and resources for over 25 years. As a Community Development Financial Institution and mission-based lender, the organization focuses on creating accessible pathways for primarily low-to-moderate income entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other entrepreneurs empowering them with tools to create positive social and economic change in our communities. As an economic first responder during recent months, Accion has served almost 3,000 small business owners in Southern California with payment relief, educational resources and COVID-19 relief and recovery lending. Since 1994, the organization has provided approximately $50 million in loans to small business owners, assisting them to start, expand, build self-sufficiency and support the local employment and economy.