Economic Development

Scaling Lending to Entrepreneurs of Color

October 19, 2020  • The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy

(with Business Ownership Initiative/Economic Opportunity Program)

Infrastructure for lending has long been exclusionary and insufficient. As a result, entrepreneurs of color often lack access to needed capital to grow and sustain their businesses. The COVID-19 crisis has made an already difficult situation dire for many small business owners. How can we help entrepreneurs of color on the path to recovery? What is the role of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) as lenders, and what can we do to overcome some of the obstacles these organizations face?

Moderator: Joyce Klein, Director, Business Ownership Initiative (BOI), Aspen Institute


  • Michael Barr, Joan and Sanford Weill Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan (@michael_s_barr)
  • Marla Blow, Senior Vice President, Social Impact, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth (@marla_blow)
  • Tim Ogden, Financial Access Initiative, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University (@timothyogden)
  • Francisco Lopez, Vice President of Business Innovation and Partnerships, Dreamspring (@DreamSpringUS)