VEDC and JPMorgan Chase Announce Loan Fund for African American-Owned Small Businesses

2018-04-09T10:45:12-07:00October 23rd, 2015|Press|19 Comments

October 23, 2015 (New York) – VEDC and JPMorgan Chase & Co. today announced a new lending program for African American-owned small businesses in New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles. The National African American Small Business Loan Fund will boost economic opportunity for minority-owned businesses in these cities and help them serve low-income communities by providing them with greater access to capital, technical assistance and financial consulting. JPMorgan Chase Foundation has contributed a $3 million grant to help VEDC reach its goal of creating a $30 million loan fund.

Facilitated by VEDC, a California 501(c)3 Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), this new Fund will provide financing for businesses across all industries. By providing the initial $3 million grant to seed the Fund, JPMorgan Chase is helping VEDC support small businesses that are a critical source of jobs and economic opportunity in their neighborhoods, but may be credit-impaired and unable to qualify for traditional capital. Without access to sustainable financing, these businesses may miss a growth opportunity or risk closing their operations.

African Americans are the fastest growing segment of small business owners

“As a direct small business lender and a leading intermediary of SBA loan programs, VEDC has a 39-year track record of providing business services to small businesses in low-and middle-income communities and especially in communities of color,” said Robert Barragan, President and CEO, VEDC. “Approximately 20 percent of our existing portfolio serves the African American community. With JPMorgan Chase’s seed funding, we look forward to helping more small businesses in our effort to further narrow the lending gap.”

Currently, there are 268,000 African American-owned small businesses in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles – making them among the top cities for African American-owned small businesses. With ownership of approximately 1.9 million, 7 percent of small businesses nationwide, African Americans are the fastest growing segment of small business owners.  However, business loans to African American entrepreneurs have yet to rebound since the economic downturn in 2008.

To address this need, the National African American Small Business Loan Fund will provide short and long-term loans. Loan sizes will vary, but the average loan will range from $35,000 to $250,000. The JPMorgan Chase grant will allow the National African American Small Business Loan Fund to provide loans and technical assistance and establish a loan loss reserve. This reserve will allow VEDC to expand its lending criteria to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles small businesses that traditionally did not qualify for a loan.

“African American small business owners have identified flexible capital as a critical resource for growth, but they face a shortage of this kind of support,” said Janis Bowdler, Head of Community Development for Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “CDFIs like VEDC provide small businesses with the consulting and financing they need to grow their operations and often serve as a bridge to traditional bank loans down the road. We’re proud to partner with VEDC on this new fund, which will increase access to the capital and assistance that African American entrepreneurs need most.”

Businesses receiving financing will be able to use the capital to expand, finance equipment, address short-term cash flow needs and provide contractor lines of credit. The Fund will also provide small business loan recipients with technical assistance such as networking, marketing, business plan development and financial consulting. Eligible small businesses must be majority-owned by African Americans.

Notable statements of support

“This new lending program will be another critical piece in our ongoing efforts to promote small business development and entrepreneurship in all Chicago communities, and particularly those that have traditionally lacked access to capital,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By investing in Chicago’s minority-owned businesses, VEDC and JPMorgan Chase are showing the power of the private sector to help cities tackle some of our biggest challenges.”

“African American-owned small businesses are vital economic engines in Los Angeles, and when they are empowered, our communities have new doors open to them — opportunities that they both need and deserve,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “We expect great things from this fund, and thank VEDC and JPMorgan Chase for their commitment to addressing this great need.”

“These small businesses are the heart of our neighborhoods,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “They put people to work and create opportunity for families to make their way up the economic ladder. We are excited to partner with JPMorgan Chase and our fellow cities to support and grow African-American small businesses.”

“We know that mission lenders hold the key in providing a sustainable source of capital to minority borrowers and those that have been left out of the economic mainstream,” said Grady Hedgespeth, Director of U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Economic Opportunity.

This new fund complements the recently launched Detroit Minority Business Loan Fund– a $6.5 million loan fund for Detroit’s minority-owned small businesses – announced last month by Detroit Development Fund, JPMorgan Chase and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Detroit is the fourth largest U.S. city for the number of minority-owned businesses.

Interested small businesses in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles can learn more about eligibility by contacting VEDC at (212) 231-4310. 


  1. Bonnie Crim September 27, 2016 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Can you please supply the name or names of any participating African American assisting lending institutions in the state of Virginia. Thank you, Bonnie Crim

    • Lisa Winkle September 28, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Hello Bonnie,

      VEDC’s African-American Small Business Loan Program is currently available only in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. However, we have a nationwide list of lending partners and small business resources you can utilize. All our partners hold similar non-profit missions statements, and are dedicated to supporting small business owners.

      I have identified non-profit lenders in the Virginia cities listed below:
      Newport News
      Can you please tell me which would be closest to you? I will then be able to send you more information.

      Thank you,
      Lisa Winkle

  2. David Hayward October 12, 2016 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Please send me a list of African-American business owner lenders in Florida.

    • Matt Chimento October 13, 2016 at 8:59 am

      Hi David, thanks for writing in! Our African-American Small Business Loan fund is currently only available in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York (more here). We do have a number of loan programs for small businesses in Miami, and partners across the state of Florida. You can learn more about our loan programs in Florida by visiting, or finding a local lending partner at

      Hope this helps!

  3. Steve W November 12, 2016 at 5:50 am - Reply

    You mentioned that you hava a nationwide list of lending partners and small business resources. Are there any in the Wichita Kansas area?


    • Matt Chimento November 14, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Steve,

      We currently have partners in Kansas City and Tulsa, which are the two closest locations to Wichita. Here are the organization names and URLS:

      You can see more of our partners and apply for a small business loan at I hope this helps! Thanks for your question!


  4. Augustine Chambo May 24, 2017 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    Dear Sir/Madam

    I would like to ask if you are working in Africa too. I have an idea if and only if will be implemented will be the source of the other to be helped and my society too. This project will be in Tanzania in agricultural sector.

    Hope to hear from you

    Many thanks

    • Matt Chimento May 24, 2017 at 5:31 pm

      Hi Augustine,

      Thanks for your inquiry! Currently, VEDC only provides support for small businesses in certain locations within the United States. We recommend contacting ACCION ( for information on their coverage and support in Tanzania. They work with a wide range of lenders and investment organizations in your area. Good luck!


  5. Chris July 14, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Hi there,
    Could you tell me how much the loan fees associated with this program are? All I can seem to find is that any loan and loan guarantee fees will be taken out of the loan proceeds.



    • Matt Chimento July 17, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Hi Chris, thanks for asking. All our loan fees depend on the programs best-suited for our clients. We utilize a number of tools to make a loan doable, and therefore may implement different programs or guarantees for a successful transaction. Each of these programs have their own set of rules and fee structures, but typical loan fees vary between 3% and 5%.

      Please let me know if we can answer any more questions. Thanks!


  6. Corrine March 31, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    To Whom it may concern: I would like some information about first time small business startup loans in the Massachusetts area. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I heard that there might be some free small business startup loans from the government?

    Thank you in advance,

    • Matt Chimento April 3, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Corrine, thanks for your comment. While VEDC does not directly offer lending services in Massachusetts, we recommend visiting the map at to see recommended lenders and CDFI partners in your area who can help provide financing solutions. Hope this helps!

  7. Frances Howard May 15, 2018 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Hello is there any help in Ga .That you know of any help will be greatly appreciated thank you so much.

    • Matt May 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Hi Frances, thanks writing in. While VEDC does not directly offer lending services in Georgia, we recommend visiting the partner map at to see recommended lenders and CDFI partners in your area who can help provide financing solutions. Hope this helps!

  8. antonio franklin July 6, 2018 at 2:50 am - Reply

    I have to say, Matt. You are incredibly engaging and responsive. It’s amazing. Well I won’t talk your ears off here as everyone is looking for one thing: Money for their business, and everybody thinks theirs is special. And I’m no exception.

    I’m a minority with a start up based upon a distillation still & solar powered steam engine that desalinates 24 hours w/o electricity. This is a significant enough development as is and means I can make any crop drought resistant. All NGO’s should love me, but i’ve hit snags offering my skills to volunteer organizations (strange). I wonder if I acquired an interested funding/loaning party, would they be less receptive if the success of the business was centered around being based offshore? To work at its most affordable, I’d need to be in the Sahara desert, and being a minority with less than stellar credit disqualifies me from many who would otherwise jump on my invention. At a bit of a quagmire.

    • Matt July 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      Hi Antonio,
      We’re excited to hear from you! You have a pretty incredible concept device and a very interesting set of ideas for your invention. While I can’t guarantee funding over a comment, I can recommend you to apply through our online form here. I would also like to recommend you book a free appointment with our staff here in the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley area to discuss your plans and possibly find alternative sources of local funding and support. We have a pretty cool set of programs, including Kiva membership, which provide more options for start-up inventors such as yourself. We’re here to help!

  9. Laura Burrell August 21, 2018 at 1:12 am - Reply

    While this sounds awesome – What disturbs me is that there is NEVER any literature regarding these programs in areas where there are heavy concentration of minority businesses. I am a Business Loan Consultant and walk into banks on a weekly basis. Not once have I seen any literature pertaining to these programs. What I constantly here business owners minority and non-minority it is almost impossible to obtain a bank loan. Why does your portfolio only serve 20% African American businesses if African Americans are the fastest growing segment of small businesses.

    More direct community based workshops and conferences by financial institutions targeting minority businesses is VERY MUCH NEEDED. When one walks into a bank, or speaks with a teller regarding their business account HAND OUT A BROCHURE REGARDING FINANCING. I find that small business owners have to approach financing as a part-time job in order to find any capital. Unfortunately they just don’t have that kind of time, which is why I am constantly on the prowl for any type of lending opportunity for small business.

  10. Tia B May 21, 2019 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Good Day,

    I would like to basically secure a loan for around $500,000 what are my options. I am in New York state. I want to focus on operations in Brooklyn.

    • VEDC May 28, 2019 at 10:43 am

      Hi Tia,
      Our team will reach out to you and give you some suggestions. Happy to help. Thanks!

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