Advancing Entrepreneurial Equity with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Accion Opportunity Fund joins the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's inaugural Inclusive Entrepreneurship Cohort in the San Francisco Bay Area
Biased lending processes, discrimination, and limited financial networks and resources—these are among the challenges that people of color, women, and low-income individuals disproportionately encounter when starting or scaling a small business. At Accion Opportunity Fund, our mission is to connect under-served entrepreneurs with affordable and transparent capital, as well as other resources to support their success. With the generous support of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), we will have the means to expand our impact even further.
We are thrilled to share that Accion Opportunity Fund (AOF) has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), This significant and timely grant will enable AOF to support under-served entrepreneurs in the Bay Area over the next two years, providing them with essential resources and capital to achieve their business goals, while expanding our capacity to build a more inclusive lending ecosystem.
Deepening Our Support for Bay Area Small Businesses
The grant award will allow AOF to pursue our key objectives:
- Bridging the financing gap in the Bay Area: We will expand access to capital to under-financed small business owners, focusing on supporting low-to-moderate-income entrepreneurs, women, and people of color in the Bay Area. AOF’s roots run deep in the San Francisco Bay Area: Opportunity Fund began lending in San Jose in 1994, and the majority of our borrowers remain California entrepreneurs. By providing accessible and affordable capital, we aim to address the financing challenges these entrepreneurs face, fostering their businesses’ growth and sustainability.
- Providing holistic support: In addition to capital, we will offer one-on-one coaching and educational resources to determined entrepreneurs. By providing comprehensive support, we strive to equip these entrepreneurs with the tools they need to thrive.
- Refining and sharing best practices in inclusive lending: The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative grant will help AOF deepen our data tracking and analysis to better understand and reach more under-financed entrepreneurs. Ultimately, this will help us refine our loan underwriting model and determine what interventions AOF can make over time. AOF will continue to model—and champion—a more inclusive financial system.
Our Fellow Grantees
We are honored to stand alongside esteemed organizations that have also received grants from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Our fellow cohort grantees are working tirelessly to promote entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. We celebrate their commitment and look forward to collaborating with them:
We invite you to learn more about the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and its dedication to supporting high-impact organizations like ours. With your help, we aim to support small businesses from start to scale, ensuring that entrepreneurs of all identities have the resources they need to thrive.
This grant award marks a significant milestone for AOF. It enables us to continue our vital work of connecting under-served entrepreneurs with essential resources and capital. We are excited about the future possibilities that this grant affords us, and we remain deeply committed to our mission of fostering economic inclusivity. Together, we create a more equitable entrepreneurial landscape in the Bay Area and beyond.