This week Venturize launches, a campaign designed to help small business owners understand their financing options so they can make the best choice for their business. Nationally, there are nearly 8 million small businesses owned by people of color and 11.3 million small businesses owned by women that help power their communities. However, entrepreneurs of color are denied loans at nearly three times the rate of white small business owners. The financial crisis led to banks cutting back on small business lending and the rise in online lenders that offer “quick and easy” cash without disclosing hidden fees, high interest rates, and prepayment penalties that can force entrepreneurs into economic distress.
The rise of unregulated online lenders provides an unprecedented but confusing variety of financing options, many of them designed to help the lender’s bottom line than to help a small business to succeed. In response, our partner Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) created Venturize, a campaign designed to equip small business owners to make the best choice for their business using clear, trustworthy information and mobile-friendly tools to compare financing options or prepare a loan application with no strings attached. OFN is the leading national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) like Main Street Launch that are investing in small businesses that benefit underserved communities across the United States.
Visit venturize.org to learn more about the campaign and to check out the resources and tools designed to help small business owners learn about thier financing options and prepare for applying for financing. The website also features a CDFI locator tool that helps small business owners find CDFIs in their community that can help them get affordable financing or business advising services.