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News

Fifth Third Announces Launch of $3.5 Million Cincinnati Access Fund; Joins LISC, City of Cincinnati to Boost Minority Entrepreneurship

Thursday, October 04, 2018

by Fifth Third Bank

 Fifth Third Bank, along with the City of Cincinnati and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), today announced the launch of the Cincinnati Access Fund, a $3.5 million loan fund that will provide access to capital and ongoing support and technical assistance for minority- and women-owned small businesses in Cincinnati.

A bank, nonprofit and city collaboration, the Cincinnati Access Fund is addressing the capital gap that many minority small business owners face, preventing them from opening and/or growing their businesses. Fifth Third is providing the Fund’s initial capital of $1.2 million, underwriting the specialized technical support services, and making referrals to the Fund. LISC is raising the remainder of the fund’s investment capital and is managing the day to day operations of the Fund, sourcing deals and originating loans. The City of Cincinnati is helping ensure the fund can serve a wide range of small businesses that might not otherwise qualify for traditional bank loans. It has committed a $2 million loan loss reserve for the Fund that would allow it to share risk, support smaller businesses and provide more patient capital. 

“I want nothing more than to grow my business,” said Taren Kinebrew, chief executive officer of Sweet Petit Desserts located in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. “The Cincinnati Access Fund creates the opportunity to purchase the bakery equipment I need to manage production and expand my business without being put at a financial disadvantage. This Fund is important because small businesses like mine often have trouble securing small-scale loans.”

Kathy Lamb-Tyler, owner of In God’s Hands, an early education and childcare center, agrees. “I now have the possibility of developing my business with the Cincinnati Access Fund. This matters not just to me, but to all the people I serve—the kids and their families and our community in Kennedy Heights and beyond.” 

The Cincinnati Access Fund is comprised of two loan products that will be offered to Cincinnati-based businesses with a particular focus on women and minority owners:

  • Micro Loans. These loans are for new and existing small businesses that have had difficulty assessing traditional financing. Loan amounts are typically $100,000 or less. 
  • Term Loans. These loans are designed to help facilitate small business growth in terms of revenue and employment capacity. Loan amounts typically range from $100,000 to $350,000.

“We know that the health and growth of minority small businesses have a direct and profound impact on employment, economic strength and generational wealth,” said Greg D. Carmichael, chairman, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp. “By making access to capital easier and providing vital technical assistance to small businesses, we will help improve lives in the communities we serve. We are honored to collaborate with LISC and the city of Cincinnati to provide capital to launch this Fund in our headquarters city.”

The Cincinnati Access Fund brings together organizations with deep knowledge and experience in the creation, execution and outcomes of similar funding programs. For Fifth Third and LISC, this is the continuation of a cultivated relationship that includes a wide range of investments over the years. This latest effort is based on previous work together on JP Morgan Chase’s Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Chicago. Fifth Third has been a funder and partner on both the national and local level.   

The Cincinnati Access Fund brings together organizations with deep knowledge and experience in the creation, execution and outcomes of similar funding programs. For Fifth Third and LISC, this is the continuation of a cultivated relationship that includes a wide range of investments over the years. This latest effort is based on previous work together on JP Morgan Chase’s Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Chicago. Fifth Third has been a funder and partner on both the national and local level.   

"This is a great opportunity to invest in entrepreneurs who reflect the rich and vibrant cultures of Cincinnati’s neighborhoods,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO. “We know from our own experience that community-based businesses—especially those in areas that others might consider too risky or complicated—are good investments when done right. This work is about catalyzing opportunity so that everyone—no matter their race, or zip code, or family background—has the chance to contribute to the city's prosperity, and to share in its benefits as well."

The Cincinnati Access Fund is about more than opening capital access and loans. As part of the Fund, critical ongoing support and technical assistance will be funded by Fifth Third and delivered to qualifying small businesses through organizations like MORTAR, a nonprofit that works to revolutionize how historically marginalized entrepreneurs are connected and resourced to create diverse, economically inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystems. In addition, some participating businesses will be positioned to certify as minority- or women-owned with the City of Cincinnati and other anchor institutions. 

“This is an important day for business growth in our city,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. “The Cincinnati Access Fund has been in development since 2016 with LISC and Fifth Third Bank. I am confident that this fund will have a profound impact on the health and vitality of our city as evidenced by the many small business owners who are ready to apply for this vital funding and assistance.”

The Cincinnati Access Fund offers market rate loans. To apply, interested small business owners should contact Amber David, small business specialist, at LISC Greater Cincinnati, 513-723-2113. After a brief pre-screening, business owners may be invited to submit a loan package or referred to a technical assistance provider.

Fifth Third is investing $1.2 million in the Cincinnati Access Fund. The Bank’s financial investment demonstrates its commitment to small business growth, especially for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, as outlined in its $30 billion Community Commitment initiated in 2016. Through the first 2.5 years of the plan, Fifth Third has funded $17.1 billion to date, including $2.7 billion in the Cincinnati market specifically. Fifth Third has made nearly $815 million in small business loans in Cincinnati in that same time period.


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