We have partnered with mission-aligned small business funders to provide Black and other entrepreneurs of color with education, funding, and ongoing business support to grow your business. Our partnerships provide affordable and patient funding, weekly coaching, and a thriving community of support consisting of other entrepreneurs of color in our communities.
Who is Eligible?
Our partners look for entrepreneurs who:
- Are located in the Oakland / East Bay or Boston Metro Areas
- Are Black-owned businesses from all industries, and with select partners, entrepreneurs of color
- Have early-stage and established businesses with a strong business model and financial plan that has been tested and validated over time – this means that your business is generating sales / revenue and/or has a strong pipeline of business
- Have been nominated through our entrepreneurship education and advising programs or have completed another local business education, accelerator, or incubator that includes development of a business plan and financial forecast
- Share our values and are interested in growing their businesses in ways that build community wealth and benefit people and the planet over profits alone
What is the Process?
Step 1: Submit Entrepreneur Interest Form
The first step is to tell us about yourself and your business by filling out the entrepreneur interest form. Once you complete the form, we will review your business stage, goals, and needs to see if your business is a good fit for funding from one of our partners or if additional business support is needed to help you prepare to receive funding. From there you will either be invited to apply and sent the request for application materials or you will be referred to go through the admission process for one of our education or advising programs for support in preparing to receive capital.
Step 2: Funding Application
A relationship-based application process helps our partners get to know you and your business’ immediate and long-term plans. Our partners do not rely on traditional bank requirements such as your credit score, or past business performance. Instead, they focus deeply on your business model and plan, financial projections, your passion, relationships in the community, and dreams for the future.
Step 3: Transparent & Collaborative Analysis
Our partners have a consultative, trust-based underwriting process where you will be supported each step of the way while they conduct their analysis.
Step 4: Community Pitch
You will participate in a pitch presentation and discussion with a Credit Committee made up of local community members, business leaders, and advisors prepared to support your growth.
Step 5: Approval
Upon approval, funding is promptly processed by our local partners.
Step 6: Post-funding Support
After receiving funding, you qualify immediately for weekly business advising, peer entrepreneur circles, and recurring community gatherings.
What are the Loan Terms?
Our partners provide funding ranging between $10,000 – $350,000 on affordable, patient terms and with no origination fees or other hidden fees.
|Friends & Family||Early Stage||Growth Stage||Revenue Participation|
|Loan Size||$10,000 – $20,000||$20,001 – $50,000||$50,001 – $350,000||$250,000 – $350,000|
|Interest Rate||4%||4%||4%||Variable based on revenue|
|Interest- only Period||24 Months|
How do I apply?
The first step is to tell us about yourself and your business by filling out the entrepreneur interest form. Once you complete the form, we will review your business stage, goals and needs to see if your business is a good fit for funding from our partners or if additional business support through one of our education or advising programs is needed to help you prepare to receive funding. From there you will either be invited to apply and sent the request for application materials or you will be referred to go through the admission process for one of our education or advising programs for support in preparing to receive capital.
Are only Black entrepreneurs eligible for funding?
Our partners prioritize Black-owned businesses. Select partners also fund entrepreneurs of color.
Are non-profits eligible for funding?
Our partners do not fund 501c3 organizations, but fund for-profit social enterprises.
Are technology startups eligible for funding?
Our partners fund businesses that can demonstrate a proof of concept, meaning the business’ revenue model has been proven to be viable. Our partners generally do not fund technology businesses seeking proof of concept due to the larger amounts of capital required.
Are cannabis businesses eligible for funding?
At this time, our partners cannot fund any businesses that touch the flower, but they can fund auxiliary services in the cannabis industry.
Are pre-revenue businesses eligible for funding?
Our partners do not fund pre-revenue businesses. Fundamentally, we do not advise businesses in our communities to take on debt financing if they are not generating consistent monthly sales / revenue.
Our partners prioritize early-stage businesses that have already tested out their business model, have a clear proof of concept, and have a business plan and financial forecast. This means they have either already generated sales / revenue OR have a contract in hand with a clear pathway forward toward generating increasing monthly revenue and they have a plan for growth.
Are youth eligible for funding?
Our partners fund youth 18 years or older.
I was formerly incarcerated. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes, you are. We encourage you to apply.
I have bad credit. Can I still apply?
Yes, our partners use a holistic character-based approach to lending and do not rely on your credit score in determining your eligibility for the loan. However, you can NOT currently be in foreclosure, bankruptcy, or under any liens.
Does funding require collateral or a co-signer?
No, our partners do not require you to have any collateral, and you do not need a co-signer because credit score is not a determining factor for a loan.
Am I qualified to apply for funding if I am also applying for other loans at the same time?
Yes, you are qualified. It is not unusual for businesses owners to combine different loans and financing sources to fulfill their capital needs. Through our consultative process we will work with you to determine the optimal financing plan based on your funding goals and your business’ financial projections.
Can I pay off the loan early?
Yes, you can. There is no prepayment penalty associated with the loan products. If you pay off your loan obligation early, you will no longer receive the one-on-one advising support.