Hello Alice, the ‘small business financier’, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) proudly announced the establishment of a $70m Equitable Access Fund. The initiative aims to amplify credit access among small businesses, particularly those helmed by traditionally under-represented groups.
The $70m fund is backed by key investors including Wells Fargo, who were instrumental in the initial financing phase. Notably, the Equitable Access Fund is projected to unlock up to an estimated $1bn in credit over the next five years. Among the Financing Partners of the Equitable Access Fund will be First National Bank of Omaha, Mastercard, and the Kauffman Foundation.
Primarily, Hello Alice, as a FinTech company, assists more than a million small businesses to secure capital. To do so, the firm offers credit enhancements such as loan loss reserves, guarantees, and cash collateral deposits to its financing partners. This process allows them to responsibly expand their risk tolerance, which, in turn, enhances credit access for potentially lucrative but credit-challenged entrepreneurs.
The fund will be funnelled towards supporting the Equitable Access Program. This initiative provides financial education and enhanced credit access to underserved entrepreneurs dealing with credit challenges. Hello Alice and GEN have confirmed their intention to collaborate with new financing partners to expand the fund and provide essential credit to growing small businesses.
In the past, Hello Alice’s data revealed that only 25% of small business owners applied for a business credit card, with 85% of those applications being denied due to poor or absent credit. Yet, 90% of small business owners without business credit believe a card would have a positive impact on their venture. The new fund aims to counter this issue and facilitate credit access for such businesses.
Elizabeth Gore and Carolyn Rodz, co-founders of Hello Alice, said, “The Equitable Access Fund provides credit enhancements that enable our financial partners to reasonably increase their risk tolerance, which ultimately unlocks credit access for those who really need it. We’re looking forward to creating more partnerships and bringing more institutions on board to the fund to achieve the goal of equitable access to credit.”
Furthermore, Jonathan Ortmans, founder and president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network, said, “The Equitable Access Fund will open doors for high-potential, credit-challenged entrepreneurs to achieve their full potential as founders, job-creators, and agents of change.”
Historically, Wells Fargo, through its Foundation, has supported various community engagement and enterprise philanthropy initiatives. The Equitable Access Fund is its latest commitment to these efforts, demonstrating a strategic focus on small business growth and financial health.
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