Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., the Small Business Policy Project (SBPP) launched DCSmallBizLoans.com, a new customized web-based lending platform developed by Biz2Credit. The lending platform will expand the capacity of local Community Financial Development Institutions (CDFIs), whose mission is to expand access to typically underserved communities by providing credit, capital and financial services. The launch event took place at the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), a co-convener of the SBPP with the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED). Citi Community Development generously supports the SBPP.
The launch of DCSmallBizLoans.com is heralded as an important step in implementing recommendations made by the SBPP to improve the environment for small business in DC. The Biz2Credit platform will enable participating CDFIs to modernize and streamline their loan application processes, and will facilitate increased access to capital for local entrepreneurs and small business owners, including minority-owned and women-owned businesses that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.
Four local Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) -who are also CNHED members – are piloting the effort: City First Enterprises, Latino Economic Development Center, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Washington Area Community Investment Fund.
“We are proud to work with the leaders of the Small Business Policy Project on a new online platform that expands access to credit for small business owners in the District of Columbia,” said Diana Meyer, Metro Washington Marketplace Manager, Citi Community Development. “Through this innovative initiative, we are bringing together stakeholders from across sectors to increase access to financing alternatives and support entrepreneurs on the road to success.”
The debut of this new online platform coincides with National Small Business Week (May 4-7, 2015), which recognizes the value of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“The District of Columbia is committed to strengthening local businesses,” says Ana Harvey, Director of Department of Small and Local Business Development. “The Small Business Policy Project compliments Mayor Muriel Bowser’s plan to create Pathways to the Middle Class.”
At the request of CNHED and the participating CDFIs, Biz2Credit tailored their lending platform to respond to the needs of the District market.
“The platform provides greater access to capital and streamlines the lending process. It can help open access to funding that targets minority-owned and women-owned businesses,” says Rohit Arora, Co-founder and CEO of Biz2Credit. “Small business owners are time-crunched individuals. By making the small business loan application process quicker and easier, this new lending platform enables business owners to focus on what they are best at: running their companies.”
The new lending platform will provide a centralized place for an entrepreneur to access loan products from local lenders. DCSmallBizLoans.com makes it possible for a business to get prequalified for loan products in just minutes and then complete and submit the desired loan application(s) online.
Four of the District’s leading local CDFIs will pilot the effort: City First Enterprises, Latino Economic Development Center, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, and Washington Area Community Investment Fund.
“While four of CNHED’s CDFI members are piloting this effort and are expected to benefit from this increased collaboration, the ultimate beneficiaries are our District residents,” says Stephen Glaude, Executive Director of CNHED. “Greater access to capital for small and micro business can result in more jobs, generating income for DC residents and revenue for the city.”