Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
Providing Colorado small businesses access to capital they may not otherwise be able to access through traditional sources (such as banks) as they launch or expand operations.
We combine small business financing in amounts from $1,000 to $500,000 with business technical assistance, providing education and coaching on all aspects of running a strong business - from strategic financial management to pricing, marketing, operations and expansion.
Since direct lending began in 1990, we have made 2,300 loans, investing $75 million in small business capital in Colorado. Over time, our small business owner borrowers (our target market) have been 26% African American, Asian or Latino; 49% female; and 60% low income at rates notably higher than occurrence of the same in the general population of Colorado. We have seen steady growth in loan production year over year, this year growing by 50%! Because of underwriting factors, we turn away three to four applicants for each loan we close, indicating demand is still very high, and that we are serving small businesses in a way that people continue to refer clients to us.
The CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) Fund, a division of the US Department of the Treasury created to fund and oversee organizations like CEF as we engage in Community Development Finance, has formally certified that a minimum of 60% of our financing goes to our target small business markets.
CEF staff is recruited to serve the community and lending industry in many ways by: serving on advisory councils and boards, presenting at conferences, and speaking on panels during small business events. CEF's voice is considered one of experience and leadership in the growing CDFI industry.