On the occasion of Hispanic Heritage month, Wells Fargo recognizes the many contributions of the Hispanic community across the country. Among one of the most celebrated attributes of the Hispanic community is its commitment to the entrepreneurial spirit. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 3.3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the country. Small Businesses make up the backbone of local economies and help build stronger and healthier communities.
As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen communities and support diverse entrepreneurs, Wells Fargo has joined nonprofit microlender, Accion, to help provide crucial support to entrepreneurs throughout the San Diego region. Accion has been helping San Diegans finance their small businesses since 1994. The organization provides economic opportunity and access to programs that provide financing to small business owners and offers business support services and loans ranging from $300 to $75,000 for small businesses.
“Our mission is to provide economic opportunity for primarily low-to-moderate income business owners who lack access to traditional credit through business loans and services, ultimately strengthening their ability to create positive social and economic change for our communities,” Accion CEO Elizabeth Schott shared with Giving Back Magazine. “Wells Fargo has been an incredible partner in growing our mission, from the volunteer service their employees provide at our events to the loan capital investments and grant contributions dollars they have supported us with throughout our history; this truly positively impacts small business owners to grow their incomes for their families and create much needed jobs.”
Wells Fargo and Accion have worked collaboratively over the last 20 years to support small businesses. Most recently a new and innovative program was launched, the Accion Academy for Entrepreneurial Success which was developed to assist startup entrepreneurs in turning their business aspirations into a reality. Twice a year, participants take part in eight weeks of practical, hands-on business training sessions on topics such as how to get started, how to manage personal and business financials, how to promote and market a business and how to complete a business plan. The most innovative feature of this training program is the opportunity for these entrepreneurs to access the capital necessary (up to $5,000) to launch their businesses once the program is completed. Wells Fargo initially funded the pilot program in 2013, and has continued its commitment and support of the program as it has evolved into an ongoing offering. Currently, Seventy-six percent of the participants are ethnic minorities and eighty percent are low-to-moderate income.
“We believe in our responsibility to give back to the communities we serve. We believe that we can only be successful if the communities in which we do business also succeed,” says Ernesto Arredondo, San Diego Area President for Wells Fargo. “Together with Accion we share a crucial partnership in supporting our business community and local entrepreneurs. Working together we continue to strengthen our local economies and in turn strengthen our local communities”
With the generous support of funders like Wells Fargo, Accion has been able to grow its programs significantly and bring economic opportunity to thousands of small businesses throughout the San Diego region. As one of Accion’s first and largest donors, Wells Fargo has supported Accion since 1996 with $1 million in loan capital and almost $1 million in grant contributions towards its microloan program. The money donated by Wells Fargo goes to support a number of Accion services, such as loan programs, business support services and specialized training programs and events. These services are focused particularly toward helping underserved small business owners.
Wells Fargo is proud to support organizations that work to strengthen our communities. Through its various philanthropic programs, Wells Fargo remains committed to making sure that cities, towns and neighborhoods across the region are strong, vibrant places to live, work and grow.
For more information on Accion and its programs visit www.accionsandiego.org. To learn more about how Wells Fargo is making a difference in communities across the country visit www.wellsfargo.com/stories.