Opportunity Fund launches campaign to empower women entrepreneurs

Alicia built a food empire based on hard work, love for her family, and a killer tamal recipe. When she needed a small business loan to grow, Opportunity Fund was there. Thanks to an Opportunity Fund small business loan, Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas has grown to produce 2,500 tamales a day that can be enjoyed all around the Bay Area.

There are an estimated 11 million women-owned businesses in the US and 99% are small businesses, generating a collective $1.7 trillion in revenue. Yet only $1 out of every $23 in conventional small business loans goes to women entrepreneurs.

Opportunity Fund is thrilled to announce a campaign to identify, educate, mentor, and provide access to capital for women-owned small businesses. The campaign, Opportunity Fund Empowering Women (OFEW), offers an affordable and responsible working capital loan for women entrepreneurs.

Empowering Women
OFEW loan review is holistic and considers the borrower’s personal experience and business knowledge, and no prior credit history is required. Small women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs with as little as one year in business can receive funding in two to five days, once approved. Loan amounts range from $ 5,000 up to $ 50,000.

“By ensuring that women have equal opportunity to succeed as business founders and owners we help strengthen communities, families and local economies. Our mission is to address inequities in access to transparent, affordable credit that limit opportunities for women.” said Luz Urrutia, CEO, Opportunity Fund.

Free Mentoring for Women Entrepreneurs
OFWE will reward borrowers with 2% off the annual interest rate when they apply for free mentoring, which is shown to have a significant long-term impact on business revenue. Borrowers who still want a loan but decline mentoring receive 1% off the annual interest rate.

OFEW borrowers who apply for mentoring can select from one of the campaign’s preferred community partners: Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation and Downtown Business Hub serving the San Joaquin Valley; Women’s Business Center at Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) serving Siskiyou, Shasta, Trinity and Humboldt Counties; and Leadership for Urban Renewal Network (LURN) serving Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties.

For borrowers in these and other areas of the state, BusinessAdvising.org will provide mentoring support. “Though our Community Partners program we identified like-minded nonprofits who have earned trust and established expertise helping small businesses in their communities throughout the state,” said Daniel Fernandez, Director of Microlending. “They provide technical assistance and business mentoring to ensure small business owners borrow responsibly and have a strong support system.”

“Access to responsible capital is the lifeblood of a business, and the barriers to affordable credit for women must be honestly addressed and confronted,” added Gwendy Donaker Brown, Vice President of Research and Policy. “Opportunity Fund has a long history of seeking policy change that supports equity and economic opportunity. We see this campaign as a complement to our mission.”

OFEW is part of a broad initiative by Opportunity Fund to build a community and develop resources to support women’s economic empowerment. Currently in development, Opportunity Fund’s CEO Luz Urrutia is building a group of advisors to assess the landscape on what Opportunity Fund can do to deepen its support for women entrepreneurs by developing our own financial products and services and identifying partners in the community to provide complimentary support services.
For more information about Opportunity Fund Empowering Women.

*All loan applications are subject to credit review. 2% discount applies when applicants sign up for technical assistance through OFEW partners. Opportunity Fund is an Equal Opportunity Lender and is a California licensed lender #6050609. Offer good until grant funds are depleted.