Wells Fargo Foundation awards ACE a $2.8 million grant to spark small business growth, job creation

The Wells Fargo Foundation is investing $2.8 million with Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACE) to accelerate the growth of diverse small businesses and help create 500 jobs.

The Diverse Community Capital funding will help ACE to provide nearly $30 million in loans for at least 250 diverse small businesses. A new loan guarantee program will provide high-risk business owners with greater access to capital and technical assistance.

“Empowering small businesses is a direct and impactful way to stimulate job growth,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation. “ACE’s professionals are experts at identifying and coaching diverse small business owners who are ready to learn how to take their business to the next level. Collaborating locally helps us strengthen the small business ecosystem, which in turn, builds job opportunities and a deeper sense of community.”

Started in 2015, the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital program is a five-year, $175 million commitment to empower diverse small businesses in collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network. To date, the program has delivered more than 322,000 hours of technical assistance and $781 million in financing to minority-owned small businesses, enabling more than 103,000 jobs across the U.S.

In addition, ACE will expand an in-house development program for women entrepreneurs and partner with Morehouse College, the nation’s only historically black college for men, on an entrepreneurship training program. Both programs will focus on activating growth and building business acumen for existing small businesses poised to scale.

ACE will collaborate with Morehouse Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (MIEC) to offer management education training to diverse entrepreneurs.

“Affordable capital fuels successful business growth. Through this opportunity, metro Atlanta business owners of color, both men and women, will be better equipped to expand their businesses, build assets and create jobs that support communities and families,” said Grace Fricks, CEO of ACE.

“We’re excited about this opportunity which allows MIEC to not only expand our offerings to diverse businesses in the community, but to also provide an avenue for student internships and engagement with real world small businesses,” said MIEC Director Tiffany Bussey. “I would like to thank the Wells Fargo Foundation and ACE for investing in the future success of diverse entrepreneurs.”

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