American Express and Accion Opportunity Fund Partner to Propel Small Business Growth
American Express will provide a $40 million investment to Accion Opportunity Fund, representing the nonprofit’s largest investment to date. Loans from Accion Opportunity Fund offer much-needed capital to historically underfunded small business owners, including people of color, women and immigrants.
Over the next five years, Accion Opportunity Fund estimates this $40 million will help yield more than $125 million in loans for small businesses, help create or retain more than 10,000 jobs, and create a ripple effect of economic activity as funds flow through local communities and are repaid.
“Investing responsibly in the nation’s small businesses is essential to building a more equitable society. 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,” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Accion Opportunity Fund. “Together with American Express we’re working to accelerate progress towards an inclusive financial system.”
“Our partnership with Accion Opportunity Fund expands on our progress toward providing financial support and education to at least 250,000 Black-owned small and mid-sized businesses by the end of 2024,” said Jessica Ling, Vice President, Global B2B Marketing Strategy, Engagement & Enablement at American Express. “We are excited to partner with Accion Opportunity Fund to advance our shared, longstanding commitment to support underfunded communities, enhance financial inclusion and reach as many small businesses as possible that need access to capital.”
“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 Ron Busby, Sr., President and CEO, U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. “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.”
Accion Opportunity Fund provides small businesses across the U.S. with access to capital through its lending arm Opportunity Fund, and coaching, with a focus on serving businesses run by people of color, immigrants and women. For over two decades, loans issued by Opportunity Fund have played a role in improving financial health for small businesses, with nearly 90% of their clients being people of color, immigrants, and/or women, as well as requirements as a CDFI to ensure 60% of their loans go to underserved communities.
Last summer, the mission-driven organization committed to accelerating its initiatives to serve more small business entrepreneurs, including Black-owned businesses. This new program was created to offer more undercapitalized businesses much-needed funding to not only sustain their businesses, but to also accelerate their growth. As demonstrated by the recent Kabbage Small Business Recovery Report, 57% of U.S. small businesses are now fully reopened, as local or federal pandemic shutdowns ease. The loans and expert advising offered by Opportunity Fund, as well as curated educational resources, networking opportunities and offers created by American Express, will provide small businesses the momentum they need now, and in a post-pandemic economy. Small business owners can learn more and apply for the loan here: aofund.org/smallbiz
Loans offered through Opportunity Fund, the lending arm of Accion Opportunity Fund, range from $5,000 to $100,000 with transparent terms of either 12, 24, 36 or 60 months, and interest rates ranging from 5.99% to 25.99% with no prepayment penalties.1 See here for terms and conditions.
American Express’ Continued Support for Minority-Owned Businesses
In the fall of 2020 American Express announced a $1 billion action plan to enhance diverse representation and promote equal opportunities for colleagues, customers and communities. As part of this commitment, the company plans to double its spend with diverse and minority-owned suppliers in the U.S. to $750 million annually by the end of 2024. Among the company’s previously announced initiatives aimed to support minority-owned businesses are the “100 for 100” program for Black women entrepreneurs, the Coalition to Back Black Businesses grant program, a $1 million+ grant program for “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” with a focus on restaurants owned by underrepresented groups, and now the program with Accion Opportunity Fund.
ABOUT AMERICAN EXPRESS
American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, instagram.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress. Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, Kabbage, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.
ABOUT ACCION OPPORTUNITY FUND
Accion Opportunity Fund works to create an inclusive, healthy financial system that supports the nation’s small business owners by connecting entrepreneurs to affordable capital, educational resources, coaching, and networks. Through innovative partnerships and outreach strategies, we reach entrepreneurs of color, low-income entrepreneurs, and women, who often lack access to the financial services they need to build and grow their businesses. Opportunity Fund Community Development is the lending arm of Accion Opportunity Fund and holds California Finance Lender license #6050609.
1 Loans made by the lending arm of AOF, Opportunity Fund Community Development (“Opportunity Fund”), CFL License #6050609. Fixed rates ranging from 5.99% to 25.99% for loans. Best interest rate available to borrowers with excellent credit and financial strength.
Accion Opportunity Fund