Based in Greensboro, North Carolina, new OFN member Piedmont Business Capital (PBC) is on a mission to create shared economic prosperity for local minority and women entrepreneurs. With roots dating back to 1992, when the formerly named Greensboro Venture Capital Fund (GVCF) was created to address unrest in historically underinvested African American communities, PBC offers business training and loans up to $250,000 for entrepreneurs in the state’s north-central Piedmont region.
Seeking to expand operations and offer larger loans in response to significant demand in the region, PBC recently closed on a $100,000 loan from OFN. Not only will the financing help increase PBC’s lending capacity, the money will also support the CDFI’s various training programs and partnerships, such as the ACCESS Center for Equity & Success in Winston-Salem, which offers access to capital, contract matching, certification training, and other entrepreneurial resources, as well as the Welfare Reform Liaison Project (WRLP), a workforce development program in Greensboro.
“Our work is focused on wealth creation in black and brown communities, as these groups are the most impacted by economic downturns from generation to generation. If we look at the extraction of wealth in homeownership during the last recession and now the untold horizon for recovery from COVID-19, our business is to stand in the gap,” said Wilson Lester, PBC’s executive director. “A partner in OFN ensures that this small, African American-led CDFI builds a balance sheet that can help small businesses in communities of color avoid predacious resources that can consume profits, and gain access to lower cost capital.”
Helping to create more than 100 jobs in 2018, the PBC team is proud to contribute to the financial strength and vibrancy of communities in the Piedmont region through support for entrepreneurs, such as Willie and Stacy Simms of the Gillespie Grill in Greensboro (pictured above). And PBC’s impact is only accelerating with their latest financing from OFN and their efforts to help local entrepreneurs withstand the debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“OFN’s renewed focus on helping smaller CDFIs nationwide was reflected in the support provided to PBC,” said OFN Investment Officer, Christopher Chaplin. “OFN remains committed to investing in CDFIs nationwide especially in high poverty and rural communities.”
Photo: J Hampden Photography