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New Capital Access Training Targets Diverse Small Businesses Support Networks to Improve Opportunity

Small businesses rely on financing to launch, expand in periods of opportunity, and persevere during moments of difficulty. It’s not surprising that access to capital is one of the most frequent issues raised by entrepreneurs across LISC’s national small business support network and ICIC’s programs to support small businesses in under-resourced communities. Capital access is especially challenging for business owners of color; in particular, Black entrepreneurs have more difficulty than their white counterparts in raising and accessing capital. There is a lack of high-quality, accessible training that business support networks can easily use to assist diverse small business owners in navigating the finance landscape.

United by our commitment to elevating diverse entrepreneurs as a means of attaining economic equity, LISC and ICIC partnered to fill this gap. We’re excited to announce the release of Bridging the Capital Access Gap, a free, publicly accessible curriculum and video series to help business support organizations navigate the capital landscape with and for their clients. We’re proud to share this vital resource with LISC’s BDO Network and other technical assistance providers across the nation, connecting historically marginalized business owners to the capital they need to succeed. We encourage you to register to attend Live Watch Parties as well as interactive Office Hours with trainer Susan Brown. The curriculum and video series are also available to you to engage with at your own pace.

To inform the creation of this curriculum and video series, we conducted in-depth research, held local and national focus groups with key stakeholders, and partnered with a capital access specialist. ICIC’s report on the small business financing industry provides an overview of the financing options available to small businesses. It documents the ways in which racial and gender inequality in entrepreneurship and access to capital drives a widening divide in asset ownership and wealth in low-income communities and communities of color. The goal of the report is to support a more equitable future in which entrepreneurship is a tool for building generational wealth. Achieving this goal will require working to repair systems of exclusion in capital access and creating more broadly accessible information about navigating the various forms of financing that are suitable for different kinds of small businesses.

Bridging the Capital Access Gap is a five-chapter, 16-part video series exploring the small business lending landscape, the basics of loan underwriting and credit management, the most effective strategies for seeking capital and cultivating long-term relationships with lenders. The video series is designed to build the capacity of business support organizations and their teams across a range of experience levels, including those who are unfamiliar with or new to the financing landscape as well as those who have worked in conventional lending.

While the video series is available online for businesses and small business support networks to watch at their own pace, we will be hosting online watch parties over the next two months for partners across LISC’s Business Development Organization (BDO) Network and ICIC’s ecosystem to watch, ask questions, and learn together. We’re excited to cap the viewing parties with virtual office hours hosted by capital access specialist and the series’ instructor, capital access specialist Susan Brown.

Join us for our Kickoff Event on Monday, November 14, to hear more about the research, curriculum, and office hours, and the opportunity to hear from the LISC and ICIC teams about what it means to bring this information to support thriving small businesses.

  • Bridging the Capital Access Gap Watch Party – Ch. 1: The Lending Landscape
    Dec 6, 1pmET/10amPT (60 Minutes)
    Accessing capital requires entrepreneurs to understand and navigate their local lending landscape. Join us to better understand how you can help a business identify when and which loans to apply for, find the right lender to engage with and develop long-lasting relationships with lenders as an organization.
    Register Here
  • Bridging the Capital Access Gap Watch Party – Ch. 2: Underwriting Basics
    Dec 13, 1pmET/10amPT (75 Minutes)
    Underwriting is a key step in accessing capital but it doesn’t have to be a challenge. Hear expert advice on how you can help small businesses have a smoother underwriting process. Explore key points lenders will evaluate when reviewing credit & debt history and more.
    Register Here
  • Bridging the Capital Access Gap Watch Party – Ch. 3 Part 1: Creating Quality Capital Applications
    Jan 10, 1pmET/10amPT (75 Minutes)
    Submitting a loan or grant application means putting a business’ best foot forward. How can entrepreneurs best prepare for review? Find out about the challenge of lending to start-ups, financing alternatives, getting loan ready and how business owners can improve their credit.
    Register Here
  • Bridging the Capital Access Gap Watch Party – Ch. 3 Part 2-Ch. 5: Debt, Collateral, and Advanced Capital Access
    Jan 17, 1pmET/10amPT (60 minutes)
    To best prepare for accessing new capital, a business should understand how a financial institution will weigh its debt capacity. Attendees of this final Capital Access Watch Party will leave understanding the importance of Debt Service Coverage, strategies for collateral management and advanced steps to continue improving future loans applications.
    Register Here
  • Bridging the Capital Access Gap Office Hour
    Jan 24, 1pmET/10amPT (60 Minutes)
    Join small business capital access specialist and trainer Susan Brown, host of Bridging the Capital Access Gap, and participate in a live Q&A with professionals across the nation. Submit questions in advance using the chat feature in previous Bridging the Capital Access Gap watch parties, or during this event.
    Register Here
  • Bridging the Capital Access Gap Office Hour
    Jan 31, 1pmET/10amPT (60 Minutes)
    Join small business capital access specialist and trainer Susan Brown, host of Bridging the Capital Access Gap, and participate in a live Q&A with professionals across the nation. Submit questions in advance using the chat feature in previous Bridging the Capital Access Gap watch parties, or during this event.
    Register Here

Armando Moritz-Chapelliquen, Senior Program Officer LISC
Armando is an organizer, facilitator, and capacity builder, energized by empowering communities across LISC markets and throughout the Business Development Organization Network. Pairing years of economic development advocacy with a commitment to elevating marginalized communities, he is passionate about coalition building, economic justice, and creating robust policy foundations for inclusive economic development.

Anna Marie Cruz, Director of Ecosystem Engagement, ICIC
Anna Marie is a director at ICIC and is responsible for cultivating relationships with entrepreneurship ecosystem leaders, liaising with funding partners, and recruiting small business owners for Inner City Capital Connections, a 40-hour “mini MBA” for entrepreneurs in under-resourced communities. Anna Marie has extensive experience working in the small business capital landscape, previously serving as an SBA Micro and Community Advantage Loan Officer at CDC Small Business Finance and as a business counselor at a Los Angeles Women’s Business Center (WBC) serving AAPI and immigrant clients.

Howard Wial, Director of Research, ICIC
Howard is the Senior Vice President and Director of Research at ICIC. A specialist in urban and regional economic development, he is responsible for designing and overseeing a research agenda to promote the revitalization of economically depressed communities. Howard has extensive experience as an economist and economic policy advisor. He has been a fellow of the Brookings Institution, executive director of the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an advisor in the office of the Governor of Pennsylvania. 

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