Pacific Community Ventures – a nonprofit small business lender that’s fueled small businesses in San Francisco and Oakland for 20 years – has just announced a new expansion to provide small business owners in Contra Costa County access the funding and business advice they need to grow their businesses, create jobs, and support the local economy. The majority of businesses supported in the coming years will be minority-owned, women-owned, and immigrant-owned enterprises, reflecting the rich diversity of Contra Costa County’s entrepreneurial community that includes underserved small business owners who are often overlooked in as they work to create wealth in the region.
Investing in small businesses combats rising income inequality by creating jobs with living wages; and yet, small businesses struggle to access the capital and support they need to grow. Every day, 8,000 small business loan requests are declined by banks across the nation. Here in California, African-American women and Latinas start businesses at rates higher than any other group, yet they are three-times as likely to be turned down for loans by a bank.
Pacific Community Ventures is working to change that, and to benefit local small businesses with the support they need – capital and advice. Chef Chew of Something Better Foods is one such small business owner. Something Better Foods crafts meatless gourmet foods that empower people to experience a better quality of life. Chef Chew is growing his company out of the kitchen space at Kitchen@812 in Pinole. He started out by crafting meatless proteins in his mom’s kitchen, and went on to launch and run successful restaurants over 13 years – but he still couldn’t find funding from a traditional bank when he tried to expand his business. So he came to Pacific Community Ventures, where we funded him to keep growing, create jobs, and fuel his dreams.
Banks are risk averse. Investors overlook opportunities in underserved geographies, and public budgets are shrinking, leaving small businesses without the resources they need. Since its founding in 1998, Pacific Community Ventures has worked with thousands of Bay Area businesses, helping them create tens of thousands of local jobs. The companies that they work with are able to access capital that traditional banks can’t or won’t provide, while putting them on a path to growth, stronger credit, and to get them “bankable”.
“We know there’s a big gap in funding for business owners of color, and that’s why we’re here. Pacific Community Ventures has helped hundreds of small businesses in San Francisco and Alameda counties. We’re excited to be partnering with local community organizations to expand into Contra Costa County,” said Mary Jo Cook, President and CEO of Pacific Community Ventures.
Small businesses are the character of our communities. The bakery that makes your favorite alfajores, the store that sells those one-of-a-kind-shirts and hats you love, the hardware store that walks you through painting a room or fixing your showerhead. That list goes on and on. Pacific Community Ventures thinks we should be empowering small business owners to increase their competitiveness while at the same time creating quality jobs with better wages and easier access to benefits. Then every community and worker in the Bay Area benefits.
- Business owners interested in a loan can visit: https://www.pacificcommunityventures.org/loans
- General inquiries or to help raise awareness about the initiative in your community: contact firstname.lastname@example.org