Our Work

The Problem, Part 1

A Shortage of Affordable, Responsible Microfinancing

Small businesses drive our economy. Entrepreneurship is a proven path to the middle class. Every day, small business owners around the nation roll up their sleeves and pour sweat and tears into their own endeavor. Yet, the gap between what small businesses receive in credit and what they need is enormous.

Without adequate funding, many owners are forced to cut back, stifling growth and opportunity. Some will fall victim to a new breed of “alternative” lenders with exorbitant rates and punishing terms that threaten the health of the business.

Fortunately, not all non-bank lenders fall into this category, and we applaud those that have signed on to the Small Business Borrowers Bill of Rights.

Learn more in our research report — Unaffordable and Unsustainable: The New Business Lending on Main Street — found in our publications.

  • 64% of small businesses face significant financial challenges every year
  • Many minority business owners are too discouraged to apply for financing
  • The smaller the business, the worse the owner’s prospects for obtaining credit
8,000

business loans are
declined every day

The Problem, Part 2

The Financing Shortage is Much Worse for Minorities & Women

The share of minority- and women-owned businesses is growing at an accelerating pace. Yet, these business owners have significantly less access to credit.

Relative to white-owned businesses, minority-owned firms:
  • Pay higher interest rates
  • Are more likely to be denied credit
  • Are less likely to apply for fear they will be declined
  • Receive small loans when they are granted credit
Relative to male-owned businesses, female-owned firms:
  • Apply for less money
  • Are more likely to be denied credit
  • Receive shorter-term loans
  • Pay higher interest rates
Only 4%

of the total dollar value of all small business loans go to women

Why Microloans and Who We Serve

Business ownership is a proven path to the middle class. A little bit of funding can help entrepreneurs make permanent and lasting changes in their lives. Opportunity Fund provides loans to underserved small business owners working hard to help themselves, helping them build credit and grow their businesses.

Learn more about how Opportunity Fund works

86%

minorities

62%

low-to-moderate income household

32%

women

A Loan Can Have a Ripple Effect in the Community.
Maybe Even a Wave.

  • 94%

    Business survival rate

  • 95%

    Repayment rate

  • 3

    Jobs created or sustained for every loan

  • 1:2

    Economic activity generated (an additional $2 for every $1 loaned)

  • $440M*

    Invested in small businesses

  • 11,065*

    Businesses served

*since 1994, as of 6/30/19