ECDI Receives $865,000 Grant From Wells Fargo “Open For Business” Fund

Contribution to ECDI will provide support statewide and help get small businesses back to growth

Columbus, OH (January 31, 2022) - Wells Fargo has awarded $865,000 from their Open for Business Fund to community microlender, Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), to administer affordable loans to small businesses in Ohio. Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund, is a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort across the U.S to help small business owners recover and emerge from the pandemic even stronger and more resilient. Any small business in Ohio is eligible to apply for the low-interest loan fund through ECDI.


Through this grant, ECDI will provide underserved and underbanked entrepreneurs with access to low-cost capital combined with wrap-around incubation and business development services to help boost entrepreneurs’ ability to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic effects. Entrepreneurs will receive expert training through ECDI’s Women’s Business Center (WBC) and have access to valuable technical assistance and business development services. Each loan recipient will receive a complimentary three-year WBC membership to access recovery-focused programs.


Inna Kinney, Founder and CEO of ECDI, says the COVID-19 crisis dramatically shifted ECDI’s role from a provider of opportunity to a sustaining lifeline for small businesses. Through a wide-ranging crisis response, ECDI supported vulnerable businesses on a greater scale than ever before. Since the start of the pandemic through the end of 2020, ECDI administered more than double the loan volume of a normal year. Of the 644 Ohio businesses that received loans in those months, 73% were minority-owned and 50% were owned by women, which aligns with ECDI’s economic development mission.


“Our organization has always been dedicated to serving the entrepreneurs and small businesses that need it most,” said Kinney, noting that businesses in Ohio are struggling on multiple fronts “The Loan Fund will enable us to provide much-needed capital, incubation services and technical assistance to businesses dealing with an altered environment in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. By bolstering small businesses, Wells Fargo’s investment helps us sustain communities’ access to jobs and the unique character of Ohio’s neighborhoods.”


“The Open for Business Fund enlists the care and expertise of organizations like ECDI to urgently assist the small business community and to help navigate entrepreneurs back to growth,” said Andrew Ruehl, Senior Social Impact & Sustainability Specialist at Wells Fargo. “Small business owners inspire us with their resilience. It is incumbent on all of us to help enable an inclusive economic recovery for these entrepreneurs and the neighborhoods they support.”


For information, please visit: ecdi.org/loans.


MEDIA RELEASE


Media Contact: Amee BellWanzo

For Immediate Release: January 31, 2022

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ABOUT ECDI

ECDI is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to assuring underserved and underbanked entrepreneurs – regardless of where they came from, where they live, their gender or their race – have access to funding and a range of business incubation services they need to succeed. Based in Columbus, with offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Akron, Toledo, and Portsmouth we are a one-stop resource center, serving small businesses in OH, KY and IN. As a leading SBA microloan intermediary, a certified Community Development Corporation, and Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution, we are proud to have disbursed over $90.4 million in small business loans, to help create or retain more than 12,572 jobs since 2004. Learn more: ecdi.org


ABOUT WELLS FARGO

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.


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