The Detroit-based has announced that it awarded $2.75 million in capital to minority-owned small businesses in the city in its first year of operation.
A community development financial institution launched in 2015 and facilitated by the , the fund supports Detroit-based businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color and businesses that primarily hire people of color. With a $3.5 million grant from — part of the financial giant's $100 million commitment to Detroit’s economic recovery — and a $3.5 million grant from the , the fund makes loans ranging from $50,000 to $150,000. To date, two-thirds of the loans it has made have supported neighborhood businesses, while 45 percent have supported minority women-owned businesses, resulting in the creation of seventy-nine jobs.
"As a female, minority, small-business owner, accessing capital can be challenging," said Adrienne Bennett, owner of Benkari Mechanical, LLC. "Because of this program, the Detroit Development Fund, JPMorgan Chase, and WKKF we were able to secure our largest contract to date, the domestic plumbing systems for Building C on the Little Caesars Arena, which demonstrated our ability to successfully compete with larger contractors."
"Seeing capital flowing to so many small businesses owned by people of color and the communities they serve in Detroit is a key leverage point for equitable, local, economic development," said WKKF president and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron. "That's why we developed and initiated this fund, in order to change the wealth trajectory of these communities now and for generations to come."