U.S. Bank is investing $1 million in the Chicago Entrepreneurs of Color Fund, as well as donating a total of $40,000 to the two organizations that manage the loan fund. The fund, launched in July 2018, provides capital to minority-owned small businesses on Chicago’s south and west side, helping stimulate economic growth in these communities.
“At U.S. Bank, we are focused on economic, community and workforce development,” said Marsha Cruzan, U.S. Bank’s Market President in Chicago. “We know however, that historically, people of color, women and those in low-income communities are underserved and struggle to access capital to start and expand businesses in their neighborhoods. The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund is a specific and tangible way we can work to close those gaps and remove obstacles that keep people from achieving their possible.”
The loan fund is managed by Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana (Accion) and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The U.S. Bank Foundation will also give $30,000 grant to Accion and a $10,000 grant to LISC.
The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund launched with initial financial support from JPMorgan Chase and Fifth Third Bank. The $3.6 million in new funding by a total of six new partners, including U.S. Bank, brings to the total fund of more than $9 million. Other new partners include First Midwest Bank, The Coleman Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and Providence Bank.
In its first year, the fund gave loans to 130 minority-owned small businesses totaling more than $1.7 million and resulting in nearly 400 new or preserved jobs. More than half of those loans support minority women-owned businesses.
“Working together, we can do even more and make a bigger difference for small businesses in these Chicago communities,” Cruzan said.
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