Accion Serving the East Coast’s 2018 Year in Review

Accion client, Elhadji Cisse, received $150,000 from Accion to finance the construction, equipment, and starting inventory of his third restaurant, Renaissance Harlem.

2018 Accion Serving the East Coast Outcomes and Impact Report

Last year, we grew financial inclusion to entrepreneurs nationwide. In 2018, we grew our core small business lending programs; we launched new programs and deepened our partnerships to reach more entrepreneurs; and we made crucial enhancements to our lending platform – which helps us to scale our mission of increasing financial inclusion for all small business owners.


Increasing Financial Inclusion to Entrepreneurs Nationwide

Last year, we grew the number of small business owners approved for loans from 707 in 2017 to 985 in 2018 – an increase of 39%. We grew the amount of dollars disbursed from $10.4 million in 2017 to nearly $14.8 million in 2018a 42% increase in dollars disbursed through the program. In sum, last year, we approved $14.8 million in loans to 985 small business owners. We have not seen this level of production since 2008, prior to the Great Recession.


We served a greater percentage of minorities, immigrants, and women by helping them start, stabilize, and expand their businesses. 78% of our clients were minorities, 71% were immigrants, and 46% were female small business owners. We helped 403 individuals with the creation of new businesses, and 582 individuals to stabilize or expand their existing businesses.


Accion illustrated our commitment to financial inclusion by providing loans to small business owners who have no credit history. In 2018, 10% of our borrowers came to Accion without a credit history. As a result of our services, we help our borrowers to establish healthy credit – which is imperative in order to access more credit, buy or rent a home, and to receive loans from traditional financial institutions.


In October, Accion lauched our Childcare Provider Support Initiative. Above, Accion clien Ybelia Almonte received $10,000 from Accion to expand DCAG Inc, her daycare center in the Bronx.

 We provided 13,187 small business owners with access to critical business development support and financial education resources including one-on-one technical assistance, group workshops, coaching and mentorship events, and over 13,200 hours of one-on-one financial education.


We served start-ups and storefronts through our 7a SBA Community Advantage program – providing 33 small business owners with $3.6 million in capital.  Accion ranked 11th in the U.S. in terms of dollars approved by the SBA and 13th in the country in terms of number of loans approved by the SBA for the program.


Launching New Programs in New York

In 2018, we disbursed $5.2 million in capital to 396 New York entrepreneurs. We launched two new programs born of our five-year growth plan to grow our mission by serving the most financially vulnerable and excluded populations.  We launched the Childcare Provider Support Initiative in October 2018, made possible with support from our founding corporate partner Citi Community Development. This bi-lingual program provides licensed childcare providers with capital through a 48-hour loan process, one-on-one counseling, and access to industry-specific and business-focused educational programming. As a result, women are able to invest in their livelihoods, bolster the care of the children they support, and provide additional opportunity for working parents in their communities. Since the launch of the initiative, we have supported 38 clients with $468,00 in loans of up to $20,000 throughout Upper Manhattan and the Bronx.


In May of 2018, we launched the South Bronx Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in collaboration with JPMorgan Chase, a $2 million fund to help small business owners in the South Bronx grow their businesses by providing them with access to capital and financial education. Since its official launch, we have supported 51 entrepreneurs in the South Bronx with $646,000 through the Fund.


Growing Small Business Lending Programs in Florida


Pamela Wasabi, owner of Amla Miami, discovered Accion through her bank , and used her loan to hire two full-time employees and to buy a van to make deliveries.

Our Florida program celebrated 15 years of growing financial inclusion through access to capital and financial education. Since 2003, we have supported over 3,000 clients with over $24 million in capital disbursed. In 2018 alone, we placed $4.7 million in capital in the hands of 228 small business owners – a 52% increase of dollars we placed into the hands of Florida entrepreneurs.


After Hurricane Irma hit the coast of Florida in September 2017, we immediately began to serve affected businesses through our Hurricane Irma Relief Program. Since then, Accion has disbursed $423,427 to 29 Floridian small business owners, and provided an additional 122 clients with payment flexibility, responsive loan servicing, and post loan technical assistance where needed. Accion also received the Florida Mission Based Lender of the Year Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).


Building Partnerships & Growing Mentorship Programs in New England


Meredith Pizzi received a loan from Accion to support the expansion of Roman Music Therapy, a musical therapy program for children in the Greater Boston area.

We deepened our partnerships in New England. Through the program, we served 1,200 New England small business owners, including 204 with over $2.8 million in capital. Additionally, we provided more dollars and loans to business owners through our SBA lending program than any other SBA Microlenders in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, resulting in our 6th #1 SBA Microlender of the Year Award in Massachusetts, and 2nd in New Hampshire. We deepened our relationships with Brazilian clients by partnering with the Brazilian Women’s Group and the Brazilian Consulate. We held workshops with E-Para-Todos, Center for Women & Enterprise, Lawyers Committee for Justice, and Commonwealth Kitchen.


We continued to provide access to world-class mentorship and coaching resources. Accion and Boston Beer executed on the Brewing the American Dream Program, designed to support our food and beverage small business owners. We held our New England event with 43 clients at the Samuel Adams Brewery for the 10th time. Since beginning the program in 2008, we have supported over 900 small business owners through the program. Just last year, 70 entrepreneurs attended the events in Boston and New York, and 26 of those small business owners received $338,000 in capital.


Investing in Infrastructure to Grow our Mission

We continued to make enhancements to our lending platform that enabled our staff to serve more clients, and to meet our future operational and reporting needs. In our first full year operating on the new platform, we successfully grew our mission – during the last 3 months of 2018 Accion provided over $1.3 million in capital each month. Additionally, through new platform, we now have the capabilities to analyze our client data in real time through system generated reports, which allows us to quickly and easily understand our clients’ needs. Our productivity today is directly linked to the launch and use of our new platform.


Celebrating Accion’s Work


From left: Dennis Lagueux (Board Chair), Chantel Calloway, Lori George Billingsley (Coca-Cola), Jackie Reyes and Paul Quintero (CEO), pose for a photo at the 2018 Access to Opportunity Awards Luncheon

In May, we recognized female leaders who have played a pivotal role in advancing financial and economic opportunity. We honored clients Chantel Calloway with the Award for Adaptability and Jackie Reyes  with the Award for Empathy. We also gave the Award for Inclusion to TD Bank, with Celia Moncholi, EVP, Head of Community Development, accepting the award, as well as to Coca-Cola, with Lori George Billingsely, VP of Community Relations, accepting on behalf. The event raised over $125,000 in support for local programming.


For the fifth year in a row, we received a 4-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for our financial health, accountability and transparency. Of the 1.5 million charities evaluated, only 25% achieve this distinction.


Measuring Accion’s Impact

Accion values impact. In April 2018, we released the findings of the first-of-its-kind Harder+Company study, and the groundbreaking metrics revealed about Accion’s impact on our clients’ financial success. Through the study, we learned that our work improves our borrowers’ financial health, which has a ripple effect within families and communities. Our programs:


Kew & Willow is an independent bookstore run by three women in Queens. They received a loan from Accion to open the bookstore in March.

  • Increase Business Success: 94% of our clients’ businesses were still open 2-3 years post loan, and 57% increased their profits.


  • Grow Incomes and Support Families: Accion entrepreneurs created stability and security for their families – they increased their take-home pay an average of 15% over the life of their loan; and 79% of Accion business owners report that their business improves or stabilizes their households.


  • Create good jobs and opportunities for communities: Each Accion loan creates and retains 3.3 jobs, which pay an average of 38% more than the federal minimum wage. As a result of our lending and financial education programs, our clients were able to create or retained 3,148 much needed jobs for their neighbors. Importantly, the number of Accion clients able to offer paid holidays grew by 14 percentage points; paid vacation by 5 points; and paid sick time grew by 20 points.