November 23, 2015


The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) has been selected by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) to test an innovative way of partnering Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with small businesses in low-income areas that need investment.

AEO is proud to work on this critically important project. Small businesses are a key to creating jobs in underserved communities and one of their biggest challenges is access to capital that can sustain their businesses and help them grow.  Our tool will screen and sort referrals and match them to partnering CDFIs, who will then review and assess the borrower’s profile and determine if they are a good fit for one of their loan products.  Initial lenders in the program will include: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (Georgia), the Intersect Fund (New Jersey), Justine PETERSEN (Missouri), and LiftFund (Southeast). 

Janie Barrera, President and CEO, LiftFund, said, “In an effort to provide more hard-working small business owners additional options to obtain capital we partnered with AEO. Through this partnership LiftFund will serve more entrepreneurs throughout the Southeast of our country."

The project is another example of AEO facilitating transformational and systemic change that will create opportunities for entrepreneurs and microbusiness owners to start and grow businesses. Within underserved communities, running a successful business will bring confidence and financial security to families, while inspiring young people by providing valuable role models.  At the same time, Main Streets and neighborhood centers will be revitalized when boarded up store fronts become bakery shops, dry cleaners, frame shops and other enterprises that bring much needed services to communities.

Together, with our many partners, AEO is demonstrating to the nation that innovative thinking and public-private collaborations can help fix a broken support system for the nation’s smallest businesses and change the paths and life outcomes for many individuals, families, and communities.

Click here to read the CDFI Fund's announcement.

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