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Supporting Small Business This Holiday Season

This past Saturday following the feast of Thanksgiving and the pandemonium of Black Friday, many Americans took part in a less-known observance - Small Business Saturday.

Small Business Saturday was born out of the frustrations of small business owners in 2010 during the Great Recession. The concept: after supporting big box retailers on Black Friday, why not put some money into your neighborhood mom and pop store? Though the economy has rebounded since the first Small Business Saturday, at Calvert Foundation we continue to recognize the importance of supporting small business.

Despite the fact that 28 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales, they often face financial challenges. Take for example, Jenny Gilligan, owner of Abigail’s Bakery in Weare, New Hampshire. Her business took a turn for the worse when her business’s septic system failed, and after visiting several banks, was unable to secure a loan to replace it. That was when a farmer’s market vendor suggested that she contact New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

Community Loan Fund is a New Hampshire-based community development financial institution (CDFI) that supports local small businesses with accessible, flexible, and affordable loans they couldn’t otherwise access from traditional financial services. Through Community Loan Fund, Jenny was not only able take out a loan to replace her septic system, but also received referrals to financial planners and a scholarship to work with one of them on bookkeeping and tax preparation.

That assistance has been “awesome,” she says. “Getting the loan has given me all these other outlets that I never would have found.”

Community Loan Fund is one of many CDFIs that Calvert Foundation lends to to support small businesses around the U.S. In 2015, our loans helped finance 80,657 businesses across all 50 states. These businesses created and/or preserved 91,541 jobs - 45% of which were held by women, like Jenny.

This holiday season, we want to celebrate small business owners and continue to grow our support for them. Supported by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, we’re launching a Small Business Competition for cash grants for business growth. Small businesses across the U.S. who receive funding from our small business borrowers can enter and compete by encouraging their clients and communities to vote for them.

Small business are invited to submit entries starting today until December 9th. Voting will open to the general public on December 10th. The top three entries will receive cash grants to be put towards the growth of their small business. We encourage you to participate, vote, share, and support your local favorite small business!