Small Business Development

Grameen America and Accion Assist Small Business Owners

Grameen America and Accion Assist Small Business Owners

Women are making significant strides as business leaders and entrepreneurs, yet many continue to face common challenges related to managing and securing financing. In fact, women entrepreneurs receive just 4 percent of all formal business loans according to a study published by The Center for an Urban Future, with support from Capital One's Future Edge initiative.

Fortunately, there are organizations that have made it part of their mission to help women entrepreneurs secure the capital they need. Headquartered in New York, Grameen America is dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. President and CEO Andrea Jung said, “Women business owners receive just $1 out of every $23 loaned. Further, low-income women entrepreneurs, the ones that have the greatest need to access safe and affordable capital, are struggling with this the most.”

Thanks to a microloan loan from Grameen, small business owner, Bertha Leon(right), shown above with Grameen America President and CEO Andrea Jung, was able to expand her Los Angeles family bakery business and is now selling products across California.

Since opening in 2008, Grameen America has provided loans, technical support and networking to more than 38,000 low-income and immigrant women in New York City alone, and nearly 70,000 low-income women entrepreneurs across the country. For example, thanks to a microloan loan from Grameen, small business owner, Bertha Leon(right), shown above with Grameen America President and CEO Andrea Jung, was able to expand her Los Angeles family bakery business and is now selling products across California.

Accion: Investing in Women Entrepreneurs

Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. In 2015, Accion disbursed 1,427 loans to U.S. women-owned businesses, accounting for 42 percent of all Accion loans.

“We invest in women entrepreneurs through small business loans and financial education because they are driving economic growth and employment across the country. These women are leaders in their communities, and we are proud to partner with them to expand that impact,” said Gina Harman, CEO of Accion, the U.S. Network.

Brandi Jennings owns BFAB Construction in Denver, Colorado.

BFAB Construction is a women-owned and operated residential and general contractor business in Denver, Colorado. Owner Brandi Jennings credits access to capital and technical assistance through Accion’s Fast Track leadership and business accelerator program supported by Capital One and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation with her ability to take on bigger construction projects and proactively develop solutions to business challenges. As a result, her company tripled its sales in the last year and expects to double sales in the next.

“The most rewarding part of my job is impacting other people’s lives, especially my employees,” said Jennings. “Seeing my employees purchase cars and homes and being able to support their families, and knowing that I had something to do with that, is probably the most rewarding part of my job. And I have to say second, I’m very fortunate in my job to where I’m always doing something different and I get to see ideas come to life. I get to see, say, a run-down building turned into something brand new, and I get to see those before and after pictures, and to know that me and my team created that is rewarding.”

Grameen America Logo and Accion Logo