Wells Fargo Provides $500,000 To Help Small Businesses Raise Capital Through SMBX and the DC Rebuild Bond Program

The grant will help more businesses qualify to seek local investors on the SMBX Marketplace
Sep 28, 2022 9:05 AM ET
Press Release

WASHINGTON, September 27, 2022 /3BL Media/ - The Wells Fargo Foundation is providing $500,000 to The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) to offer technical financial assistance to 100 small business owners interested in participating in the DC Rebuild Bond Program—a partnership between DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), and SMBX, the financial marketplace that connects qualified small business owners with everyday investors.

The DC Rebuild Bond Program is driving $5 million in investment into the District’s small businesses by giving residents the opportunity to invest in them. All DC businesses are eligible, with a special emphasis on businesses in Wards 5, 7, and 8–neighborhoods that have historically experienced economic discrimination. The Wells Fargo grant seeks to increase the number and type of small businesses from those areas eligible to raise capital through the DC Rebuild Bond Program on the SMBX marketplace. 

Many business owners are interested in the program, but need technical assistance to organize their finances and professionalize their bookkeeping before they can raise capital. Those small businesses will be identified by SMBX and referred to CNHED for that assistance, funded by the Wells Fargo grant.

Technical assistance costs offset by the grant include:

  • General accounting services, e.g. Quickbooks setup, etc.;
  • Help establishing accounting best practices;
  • Webinar education on business and financial planning;
  • Incorporation legal services, e.g. from single member entity to LLC, etc.;
  • Conversion from cash accounting, etc. to GAAP compliant accounting as required; and,
  • Independent financial review for capital raises above certain thresholds.

Once CNHED helps the businesses, they will be eligible to begin their capital raise campaigns on SMBX.

"This Wells Fargo grant will ensure more small businesses, especially entrepreneurs of color, will have the resources they need to succeed through the DC Rebuild Bond Program and SMBX. Mayor Bowser is committed to advancing equity, creating intergenerational wealth, and promoting pathways to the middle class by supporting small businesses and keeping more dollars local," said Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio. "Programs like these make DC a national leader with the highest percentage of Black-owned businesses in the country. I'm confident the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development has the talent and expertise to prepare these entrepreneurs for the next steps in their financial futures."

“To create a more inclusive economy, we need to recognize that many small business owners benefit from greater access to guidance on how to secure capital,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “CNHED is a proven expert in helping small businesses reach their growth potential, and the DC Rebuild Bond program is poised to make a difference for many entrepreneurs.”

“We want all DC businesses to have the opportunity to raise capital on the SMBX marketplace. But many need a little help getting their books together to qualify. The Wells Fargo grant, and CNHED’s assistance, will get them ready to seek investors in their communities through the DC Rebuild Bond Program,” said Ben Lozano, SMBX Co-Founder and CEO.

“What we’ve seen is that traditional lending sources have gaps,” said Stephen Glaude, CNHED President and CEO. “From CDFIs, to Banks, to Community Lending, etc. – and some small businesses are falling through those gaps. This program provides a tier of financing that is desperately needed for the sustainability of the District’s small businesses ecosystem and local entrepreneurs.”

About the DC Rebuild Bond Program
Through the DC Rebuild Bond program, businesses can issue Small Business Bonds™ on the SMBX marketplace with no origination fees. Their customers and local investors can invest in their business by purchasing their Bonds for as little as $10 each and repaying monthly principal and interest. Sixteen (16) businesses have raised capital since the program was launched in September 2021. 

About SMBX
SMBX is a financial marketplace that connects qualified small business owners with everyday investors. By issuing a Small Business Bond, businesses can borrow money from existing customers and their community at competitive rates, raising the funds needed to expand their business.

About CNHED
The Coalition for Nonprofit Housing & Economic Development (CNHED) is a dynamic 501(c)3 membership-based nonprofit that advances equitable community economic development solutions in the District of Columbia. Our holistic systems-change approach encompasses community-informed budget and policy advocacy, data-driven thought leadership, and needs-based programmatic initiatives in the areas of Housing and Homelessness, Workforce Development, and Small and Minority-owned Business Ecosystem Building. For more information, visit www.cnhed.org.

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