We’re making it easier for entrepreneurs to access the capital they need to create more vibrant communities.
Entrepreneurship is part and parcel to the American dream, yet in many communities finding the necessary capital to launch and grow a small business is harder than it should be. Unfortunately, our current financial system is optimized to provide larger amounts of capital to businesses with the most collateral and years in experience. In a perfectly fair and just economy growing your business to this stage might not be an issue, but life has a variety of starting points.
The wealth inequality many minority entrepreneurs face, is staggering and a major hurdle in starting a new business. Whether it’s an underrepresented, underserved, or underestimated entrepreneur, the gap is quite large (and growing) between the desire to start or grow a business and being able to fully participate in the traditional financial systems.
We see the value of supporting entrepreneurs and strategies, but we also see the importance of completely changing the system itself by creating new funding strategies that by their very design and purpose, close the gap for many of these amazing entrepreneurs.
ELIXIR grew 106% in 2017, thanks in great part to Access Venture's Growth Loan. With this loan, we had enough working capital to create a full time job, purchase equipment that allowed us to increase our production capabilities and collaborate with a local designer on a rebranding effort that gave us a stronger shelf presence retailers across the region…
In conversations with small business lenders, it’s common to hear statements such as “There’s plenty of money to lend, but a lack of qualified borrowers.” With access to capital being a top issue for small business owners nationwide, there’s certainly no lack of demand. These businesses who would not only service debt if the opportunity were extended, but would use the additional capital to create jobs and additional value, boosting their local economies.
The key to creating more inclusive financial solutions is for inclusion itself to be the primary constraint. Setting proper constraints to create sustainable financial solutions may seem like an easy task, but warding off influence from existing systems and theories is actually quite challenging. The systemic roots of exclusion make envisioning a solution that’s truly different quite challenging due to pre-existing momentum and norms that can feel awkward to violate.
It’s to be expected that well constructed constraints for inclusive solutions will result in new ideas for more effective tools and products, while simultaneously weeding out those that are ineffective. Truly innovative and inclusive financial solutions emerge when the constraints of existing systems and institutions are temporarily ignored.