Press Release

Calvert Impact and partners launch Nevada Battle Born Growth Microloan program

Feb 15, 2023 | Bethesda, MD

Calvert Impact and its partners announced the launch of the Nevada Battle Born Growth Microloan program. Nevada is the first state to launch a loan participation program under Calvert Impact's strategy to leverage the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) to drive a more inclusive financial system. The program aims to support the growth of community-based lenders so they can reach unbanked small businesses across the country.

"This is the first of many funds to be launched with the support of the SSBCI program to help get capital to small businesses that are under-banked or not banked at all," said Beth Bafford, vice president of strategy at Calvert Impact. "We are excited to work with our partners and supporters to match small business owners with community lenders across the state."

The loan program was adapted from the work done through a series of pandemic recovery funds launched over the last three years by Calvert Impact, Community Reinvestment Fund, National Development Council and their CDFI partners across the U.S. To date, these funds have provided $350 million in loans to 5,500 small businesses through over 40 community lenders nationally. More than 80 percent of small businesses funded qualify as "socially or economically disadvantaged" and more than 90 percent qualify as "very small businesses" under the SSBCI's program guidelines.

"This is a groundbreaking structure benefitting Nevada's small businesses seeking smaller amounts of funding particularly businesses from communities that have been underserved by traditional lenders in the past," said Karsten Heise, Senior Director Strategic Programs & Innovation at GOED and SSBCI Program Administrator. "Being able to offer an online matching platform represents a major step forward for Nevada's small businesses to find financing and support options easily and effectively."

The new microloan program offers simple and affordable loans to small businesses across Nevada with the goal of creating a more active secondary market for CDFI-originated small business loans.

"This is a great opportunity for Nevada to increase access to capital for our rural small businesses," said Mary Kerner, CEO of Rural Nevada Development Corporation (RNDC). "RNDC specializes in lending to people, projects and small businesses that may not fit standard underwriting criteria. The program is designed to purchase a portion of our loans so we are able to more quickly scale our lending to the communities we serve."

Program design and development have been generously supported with grants from the Citi Foundation's Community Finance Innovation Fund and from Wells Fargo – two funders who understand the critical need for more market infrastructure in the community finance sector.

"The Citi Foundation's grant signals our enthusiastic support of this pioneering effort led by Calvert Impact and its partners to connect state governments with local CDFIS to support small businesses," said Kristen Scheyder, Senior Program Officer, Citi Foundation. "Through this effort, local CDFIs will be well positioned to reach into communities and work with small businesses to provide the technical assistance and capital they need to thrive."

"Small businesses need an ecosystem of support to navigate all the avenues to capital," said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. "At Wells Fargo, we're focused on enabling more small businesses to move from surviving to thriving. Calvert Impact has developed a program that pools resources and common technology so that local community lenders can more quickly and efficiently provide small businesses with access to advice and funding that puts them on a path to growth."

Calvert Impact has supported community-based small business lenders for nearly three decades given their critical role in expanding access to credit for small business owners across the country. This new program underscores Calvert Impact's continued commitment to bringing the capital markets closer to communities as it strives to make our economy more inclusive and equitable.

More information about the loan program can be found here.