Entrepreneurs of color based in the Southeast, this fund is for you. The Charlotte-based UP Community Fund is making capital more readily available to minority-owned businesses specifically in Atlanta, Baltimore, and Charlotte. The fund will provide small business loans ranging from $250,000 to $1.2 million to small businesses and community organizations.
Black Enterprise caught up with CEO of Urban Advisors, David Sharp to bring you details on what this fund is all about.
Black Enterprise: Who are the partners in the fund? How did the partnership come about?
David Sharp: The key funding partners are Urban Advisors (100% African American-owned) and Riverside Church (a New York City-based social justice funder). Additional funders include Calvert Impact Capital, MetLife, and New Resource Bank. The key management/owners are me, Tawruss Sellars, and Mike Boulware.
Urban Advisors and Riverside Church initiated a conversation, post-Ferguson, and Michael Brown, to explore the question: ‘How can we leverage capital to address social justice related issues within our community?’
Why did you all decide to issue loans and not equity investments?
We wanted to address access to capital, from a credit perspective, that is more flexible as compared to traditional banks and more cost-effective as compared to traditional online lenders. In addition, we wanted to establish a relationship-lending model from a place-based perspective. Debt capital can help a larger number of small businesses. Equity capital can help a smaller number of high growth businesses. We are targeting small businesses with revenues of at least $500,000 and providing financing amounts starting at $250,000.
Why did you decide to focus on the Southeast?
Our firm is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the southeast market has the greatest challenges in terms of access to capital and upward mobility for entrepreneurs of color and specifically African American-owned and operated businesses.
If an entrepreneur is interested, how do they gain access to the fund?
Visit the www.upcommunityfund.com website.