Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund Program boosts Chicanos Por La Causa

It was with great enthusiasm that Chicanos Por La Causa announced a $5 million award from Wells Fargo to help enhance relief programs in Arizona, California and Nevada for small businesses that continue experiencing hardship related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prestamos CDFI, a division of Chicanos Por La Causa, will be responsible for using the awarded funds from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund to address the lack of access to affordable capital for small businesses.

“These funds will help us provide low-interest loans to small businesses struggling through the pandemic in combination with free consulting services, which makes a significant difference for our clients,” said CPLC President & CEO David Adame. “Almost a year into this pandemic, we understand the multiple challenges small business owners are facing to keep their doors open, create local jobs and, in many cases, offer a lifeline to communities in need across the southwestern United States. We are committed to investing in them on the road to recovery.”

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The vital capital will support predominantly racially and ethnically diverse small businesses targeting the counties of Maricopa and Pima in Arizona; Clark and Washoe in Nevada; and Los Angeles in California.

Wells Fargo launched the Open for Business Fund in 2020 as an approximately $400 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs hardest hit by COVID-19 recover and rebuild. To date, the Open for Business Fund has deployed more than $84 million in philanthropic capital to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which has helped an estimated 16,000 struggling small businesses and helped keep in place 50,000 small business jobs.

“As we head into a new year, we want small businesses to know they are not alone. We are going to continue to come together as a community to foster an inclusive recovery, strengthening the small business sector for the long term,” said Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund draws on the expertise of nonprofits like Chicanos Por La Causa to help expand additional capital, emergency relief and technical assistance to minority-owned businesses, as well as others hard-hit by the pandemic.”

CPLC Prestamos is an award-winning CDFI and Community Development Entity (CDE) that has provided small business loans and high-quality technical support services to business owners in underserved communities since 1980. Prestamos now offers loan products and investment opportunities in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

Proigram helps Raza Development Fund

Raza Development Fund (RDF), the nation’s largest Latino Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Wells Fargo Open For Business Fund in support of its Small Business Initiative program which serves minority and women-owned small businesses suffering from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding will extend its reach to support small businesses in Arizona, Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, and Florida. RDF will continue to provide technical assistance to businesses in all markets and help them arrive to a state of readiness to receive long term capital (low-interest loans) as a resource that will enable minority-owned businesses to achieve sustainable growth and long-term self-sufficiency.

“In 2020, Wells Fargo supported RDF’s Emergency COVID-19 Hope Fund, created to support ravaged small businesses in South Phoenix and throughout the country. Now with support from the Open for Business Fund, Wells Fargo is again standing with RDF to provide financing to more small businesses as they continue to struggle through this pandemic,” said Tom Espinoza, President and CEO of RDF.

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities and COVID-19 has dealt a devastating blow to so many of them. We want entrepreneurs to know, we are here for them. United with organizations like RDF, we’re going to continue to come together as a community to foster an inclusive recovery and strengthen the small business sector for the long term,” said Patty Juarez,

Head of Diverse Segments Commercial Banking at Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund draws on the expertise of nonprofits like RDF to expand additional capital, emergency relief, and technical assistance to minority-owned businesses as well as others hard-hit by the pandemic.”

Latino small business owners are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. As of 2020, there are 1.1 million minority-owned small businesses that serve as essential job sources and economic engines in America. These businesses employ more than 8.7 million workers and generate over $1 trillion in economic output. Women own nearly 300,000 of them, employing 2.4 million workers. Also, of note, a 2018 study by the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy found that 10% of all business owners in the U.S. are Latino immigrants, and their operations generate about $36.5 billion in business income.

Founded in 1999 as a support corporation of UnidosUS, RDF provides access to capital and financing solutions to non-profits, UnidosUS affiliates, and other Latino serving organizations across the country with the mission of breaking the cycle of poverty in low-income communities. Since its inception, RDF has originated over $900 million of community development loans and investments in 34 states across the nation, leveraging over $4 billion of capital into low-income communities. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, RDF lends nationwide and has offices in Seattle, WA and New York City, NY.