DENVER, May 27, 2020 – Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), a certified SBA lender, raised $11.2M in capital and has processed over $11.9 million in loans to 389 Colorado businesses through the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) in the second round of funding that began on April 27th, 2020.
As part of CEF’s COVID-19 response to assist Colorado small businesses, the nonprofit partnered with other key lenders who provided CEF with the funding to help vulnerable small businesses save 2,040 jobs through PPP loans which were their financial lifeline to business continuity. CEF received 648 total loan applications and deployed a total of $11,989,240, with an average loan size of $30,821 – much smaller than the national average loan size of $206,000 in the first round of PPP funding.
In addition to financial support, CEF has also provided more than 500 hours of free coaching services to help businesses through the PPP application process and make strategic decisions about surviving this period of little or no revenue due to mandated business closures and reduced economic activity.
After the first round of PPP funding was quickly depleted, many small businesses were left without options for funds to sustain operations during closure due to COVID-19. Upon learning that a second round of funding would become available, CEF raised the capital needed to make the PPP loans, thanks to the support of the following community partners:
Community Banks of Colorado, a division of NBH Bank
First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO)
Gates Family Foundation
The PPP loans provide financial relief for both the business and its employees to help position them to recover and rebuild in the new COVID environment. An example is Early Success Academy (ESA), a CEF borrower for nearly 20 years. ESA applied to get PPP funds from their bank during the first round of PPP funding, but was rejected for unclear reasons. Worried that they would have to close their business after two decades of providing invaluable childcare and educational services for many working families, they reached out to CEF, since CEF began offering PPP loans in the second round.
Within less than a week, ESA’s PPP application was approved, closed, and funds were deposited to their bank account by CEF. “Once again, CEF has come to the rescue. Because of their swift action and personally helping us navigate through the complex government requirements, we now have the funds to re-open in 30 days with all nine employees still on board,” said Executive Director, Diana Gadison. “The rent will be paid, and health insurance is intact with no interruption in benefits. This is critical for my employees, including myself, who are being treated for or are recovering from various health conditions.”
To pay it forward, starting Friday, May 15, Early Success Academy and fellow CEF borrower SAV-A-LOT, located in the same shopping center, started distributing gift certificates for food on a monthly basis to support the school’s 40 families. Gadison continues, “We’re in this together, and we’re going to get through this together.”
Ceyl Prinster, President and CEO of CEF explains that, “As a nonprofit lender certified by the SBA, we can make loans to businesses that may not have a bank that is a PPP lender and, we can also provide advisory services to help those that may have been rejected for PPP loans. Small businesses provide jobs, support the economy, and make Colorado the special place that it is. We are deeply committed to helping these businesses get through this very difficult and unpredictable time.”
CEF’s PPP loans went to businesses from a variety of sectors and included CEF’s existing borrowers, as well as new ones. Mergix Business Solutions, an established and successful accounting firm serving companies across the country, found themselves in an ironic situation when the COVID crisis hit. As they were helping their clients find relief and counseling them on business tactics to remain viable, Mergix realized they needed to protect their own financial well-being, too. When neither of their two large financial institutions were able to provide PPP loans, Mergix was referred to CEF.
“As a first-time borrower of Colorado Enterprise Fund, we found that working with CEF was incredibly positive as they were able to help immediately and the process was very easy and clear,” said Mergix Founder and CEO Michelle Wood. “Not only have we been able to keep our entire staff on payroll and focused on helping our 75 clients remain in business, but we’ve even been able to refer some of them to CEF for funding support, as well.”
The PPP is a U.S. government loan program that provides businesses with loans that are 100% guaranteed by the SBA and will be forgivable if they are used to pay for employee salaries, rent, and other necessary costs of their business. Enacted as part of the recent federal CARES Act, the PPP is administered only through SBA-certified lenders like banks and organizations like CEF.
As a non-profit CDFI mission lender, CEF has loaned over $108M over its 43-year history and is strongly committed to the ongoing support of small businesses in Colorado. CEF will continue to offer PPP loans based on funding availability, in addition to other COVID relief and recovery loan products, as well as business coaching services.
About Colorado Enterprise Fund
Founded in1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides loans up to $1 million to finance small businesses and startups unable to obtain funding through traditional banks. CEF has disbursed $108 million in startup and growth capital to more than 3,000 businesses and created or retained more than 12,500 jobs in the state. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF is based in Denver with lending and business advisory services available statewide. For more information, visit www.coloradoenterprisefund.org.
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