In a significant and impactful move towards fostering economic equity and empowerment, Growth Partners Arizona is making waves by extending its partnership to expand the BIPOC Loan Fund into rural communities across the diverse landscape of Arizona. The winds of change are sweeping through the Grand Canyon State as this visionary collaboration seeks to address the unique challenges faced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) business owners.
“Our investment in the BIPOC Loan Fund with CIC Tucson is a strategic move that aligns with our core values of inclusivity and community empowerment. It’s not just about dollars and cents; it’s about creating opportunities. This investment will enable us to expand lending to underserved rural communities, unlocking the potential of local businesses. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Wells Fargo for their commitment to our mission. Together, we’re building bridges to a more equitable financial future,” said Andre T. Whittington, Executive Director, Growth Partners Arizona.
Community Development Financial Institutions or CDFIs, such as Growth Partners Arizona, create non-traditional funding opportunities so small businesses can prosper and generate a strong economic impact. Keneshia Raymond, StartUp Tucson’s Director of Programs & Access to Capital, shared her perspective on why this funding is so important. “What I am most excited about is the opportunity to help BIPOC businesses throughout the state. Together, we will connect with entrepreneurs, who had no idea this resource was available, to offer not only funding but also education, support, and a talented group of committee members that make up the exact communities we serve. The potential that we have together is endless and we are looking forward to what’s to come.”
This partnership also showcases Southern Arizona’s footprint as a leading advocate for more character-based funding. “The issue with underinvestment in entrepreneurs of color was never just a problem in Tucson or Southern Arizona or Arizona – it is a national problem,” says Danny Knee, Executive Director of CIC Tucson. “Together, using this funding approach, we will reach more people, provide more resources that create a more positive economic impact, and that is what we are here for.”
Wells Fargo’s vision to support community partners who create strategic initiatives shows the institution’s commitment to being a driver of social change. “As the Bank of Doing, Wells Fargo is focused on strengthening the small business sector for the long term because small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities. We’re thrilled to award Growth Partners Arizona this grant to provide much-needed capital to entrepreneurs so they can invest in the growth and success of their businesses,” said Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo.