Racial Equity

Two New BOI Resources on Scaling Lending to Entrepreneurs of Color

March 14, 2023  • Joyce Klein & Tim Ogden

Today, the Business Ownership Initiative is releasing the second brief in our series on Scaling Lending to Entrepreneurs of Color: Strategies and Operational Practices for High-Volume Originations. We’re also opening applications for the next cohort in our Microlending Accelerator Program for CDFIs that are interested in scaling their small business lending portfolio. (See more on this program below.)

Microloans play a critical role in reaching BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and people of color) business owners because structural and systemic factors have limited the size of their firms – and thus the amount of debt they can service. Over the past two years, we’ve worked closely with the members of our Microfinance Impact Collaborative (MIC) to document the practices they’ve used to originate microloans at high volumes. (Collectively, the six members of the MIC originated 12,000 loans totaling almost $310 million in 2022.) The new brief describes the ways in which MIC members have designed and implemented their microlending products and processes that appeal and are accessible to more BIPOC business owners, and to originate and service these loans at high volumes.

The Microlending Accelerator Program provides CDFIs with existing small business lending portfolios that are ready to scale the opportunity to work with a team of advisors who will analyze their existing microlending products and processes and help their lending teams customize and adopt high-volume practices that align with their clients and lending goals. BOI’s expert advisors all have experience in high-volume microlending and/or fintech lending. To learn more and apply to be part of the next cohort of four to five CDFIs, click here.

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The Scaling Lending series and the Accelerator Program are both part of BOI’s long-term efforts to deepen knowledge and advance practice addressing racial inequities in business ownership. Exploring the research and data on this issue made it clear that the central challenge was not to stimulate new business starts, but to counter the systemic and structural factors that have precluded BIPOC-owned firms from growing. Our work to counteract these factors has centered on identifying, documenting, and supporting adaptation of the practices used by CDFIs that are successfully reaching hundreds and thousands of business owners of color each year with financing and other forms of support.


Check out these new resources from @Aspen_BOI, including an update on the Microlending Accelerator Program — now open for applications! — and the second brief in its publication series, “Scaling Lending to Entrepreneurs of Colors.”

Applications are now open for @Aspen_BOI’s Microlending Accelerator Program! MAP connects CDFIs with expert advisors who work with them to expand their microbusiness lending portfolio. Learn more and apply.

Is your CDFI ready to scale? Apply to the Microlending Accelerator Program! MAP gives organizations the tools and guidance to adopt high-volume microlending practices and serve a greater number of clients. Learn more and apply.

CDFIs support businesses without traditional sources of capital, but often face challenges serving high numbers of clients. The Microlending Accelerator Program helps them break through this barrier and scale their impact. Apply today.

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The Business Ownership Initiative works to build understanding and strengthen the role of business ownership as an economic opportunity strategy. BOI is an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

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