Part of a $1 billion racial equity commitment announced by American Express in November, the largest-ever investment in Accion is expected to help the Opportunity Fund, the organization's lending arm, provide more than $125 million in loans to small business owners, with a focus on people of color, women, and immigrants. It is expected that the loans, in turn, will create or preserve more than ten thousand jobs and generate additional economic activity in local communities.
Last summer, Accion made a commitment to serve more small businesses, including Black-owned businesses. To that end, the Opportunity Fund will use the investment from American Express to provide loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000, with terms of either 12, 24, 36, or 60 months and interest rates ranging from 5.99 percent to 25.99 percent and no prepayment penalties, to small businesses today and in the post-pandemic recovery.
"Investing responsibly in the nation's small businesses is essential to building a more equitable society," said Accion Opportunity Fund CEO Luz Urrutia. "This program combines access to capital and expert advising to support small businesses that are in a strong position to rebuild and grow in 2021 and beyond. We're looking to lift up those who have been overlooked and underfunded for far too long."
"This new program between Accion Opportunity Fund and American Express is valuable and vitally important for Black-owned small businesses as they look to the future," said U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. senior president and CEO Ron Busby. "Equitable, adequate, and intentional investing in Black entrepreneurs will help our nation recover faster, become stronger and grow individual businesses to ultimately close generational wealth gaps."
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