Our Impact: Microlending

How Microlending Work:
  1. Our donors and investors
  2. Help make loans to entrepreneurs
  3. To grow small businesses
  4. That hire employees
  5. And change lives and communities
  6. Loans repaid, repeat!

minority-owned businesses

created or retained per business

and Shoneji
From TV's Cupcake Wars to Borrower Battles
Loan amount: $40,000
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Catarah and Shoneji are baking their way to sweet success as the owners of LA’s famed Southern Girl Desserts cupcake shop. The two shot to stardom when they won TV’s Cupcake Wars competition, but when business took off and the "Dessert Divas" needed financing to expand, their bank turned them down. Because they didn’t know about Opportunity Fund, they thought their only option was a merchant cash advance—a high-cost alternative targeting businesses too young to qualify for a bank loan. They accepted the high rate and short term because they needed financing to grow. Soon, Catarah and Shoneji got caught in a high-cost debt trap "We fell into a terrible cycle trying to pay off those cash advances," said Catarah. "We were constantly worried about cash flow. I felt like we would never get out from under the debt."

It wasn't until Catarah learned about Opportunity Fund that she found a way out. Opportunity Fund refinanced their debt with a $40,000 EasyPay loan, cutting their monthly payments by 90% and saving them $10,000 a month! "Opportunity Fund truly cares about the success of our business. It is a relief knowing that we are finally out of the shark-infested waters of cash advances.”

In 2015, President Bill Clinton announced a groundbreaking collaboration between Opportunity Fund and Lending Club to grow responsible lending in underserved areas of California.
"Access to capital for entrepreneurs is key to restoring real economic mobility, job creation and the economic health of the middle class. When new credit technologies, such as Lending Club’s, are made available to CDFIs like Opportunity Fund, they can grow to meet the rising demand for capital in underserved communities. Opportunity Fund and Lending Club are committed to pilot an unprecedented partnership. I can’t wait to see what happens."

President Clinton,
CGI America 2015