Colorado Enterprise Fundand Wells Fargo Spark Diverse Small Business Growth in Colorado

Funds will help minority-owned businesses increase scale and impact


Denver, CO, December 6, 2021 – Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) announces the launch of two new loan programs: the Black Business Loan Fund and the Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) Loan. Through a $1.275 million grant award from the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund, these targeted loan programs will spark diverse small business growth throughout the state. 

Thanks to Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund, a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort, CEF created the two new loan programs that will enable the nonprofit to strengthen partnerships, extend low-rate loans, and amplify coaching services so that more minority-owned businesses can recover and rebuild from the lasting effects COVID-19 has had on small business. With the grant from Wells Fargo, CEF can provide the needed recovery capital and offer these new loan programs – ultimately increasing impact with the many underserved communities throughout the state. This Wells Fargo grant has already spurred $615,000 in loans to 21 Black-Owned businesses. 

“Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities and are the key to millions of local jobs,” says CEF President and CEO Ceyl Prinster. “Both CEF and Wells Fargo have remained committed to helping small businesses that have been disproportionally impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Together we’re able to build an ecosystem of support for minority-owned small businesses so they can recover and continue to provide vital jobs, goods, and services in our Colorado communities.” 

The Black Business Loan Fund offers loan amounts up to $50,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and commercial real estate. The program currently offers a discounted loan rate of 2.99% with loan terms of up to five years and interest-only periods of up to six months. 

“The Colorado Black Chamber is pleased to partner with the CEF on this loan product.  It is the kind of program that makes a big difference for our small business owners and the early results emphasize the need for the Black Business Loan Fund,” says Lee Gash-Maxey, Executive Director Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce. 

Created for those with no social security number, CEF’s ITIN Loan enables small business owners to get a loan using their Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. Loan amounts up to $25,000 can be used for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and commercial real estate. The program currently offers a discounted loan rate of 2.99% with loan terms of up to five years and interest-only periods of up to six months. 

Beyond providing small businesses much needed recovery loan capital, Wells Fargo’s support helps CEF empower minority-owned small businesses with technical assistance and long-term resiliency programs. In addition to CEF’s many coaching services and dedicated business coaching team, minority-owned small businesses can benefit from two new opportunities to help advance their business. CEF has partnered with three professional service providers to offer their services completely free of charge. Business owners can choose to work with any or all of these professional service providers to help accelerate their small business: AFS Credit Restoration to help rebuild credit; Streamlined Business Solutions to creation and design a website; and YTD Bookkeeping Service for accounting support and to get access to basic QuickBooks. Interested businesses can learn more and sign up for these free services at  

CEF and the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce, the Black Business Loan Fund’s outreach partner, are offering a workshop series where small business owners can learn from experts about how to make their business dream a reality, plus what funding options are available to them. This series will be available to entrepreneurs in early 2022. 

“Emerging from this unprecedented time, Coloradans who placed their entrepreneurial projects and inventions on hold are eager to bring them to fruition,” said Wells Fargo Colorado Region Bank President Keith Lobis. “Wells Fargo has a deep commitment to advancing the economic prosperity of all Colorado businesses. We are proud to support the work of Colorado Enterprise Fund as they serve a vital role in bringing much needed support to diverse small businesses throughout the state of Colorado.” 

For two decades, Wells Fargo has supported diverse small business success through CEF, providing $3.875 million in funding to help Colorado entrepreneurs access the capital and coaching programs they need to launch and grow. In FY19, Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital program awarded CEF $1.35 million in grant and impact funds to reach more diverse small businesses. Since then, by aggregating and leveraging capital, CEF has helped 240 minority-owned businesses access $8.4 million in loans and coaching services. 

About Colorado Enterprise Fund  

Founded in 1976, Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) provides coaching services and loans up to $1 million to finance small businesses and startups unable to obtain funding through traditional means. In total, CEF has disbursed more than 5,200 loans and grants totaling $169 million over its 45+ year history, including COVID-19 relief capital, and startup and growth capital, that has created or retained more than 29,000 jobs in the state. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CEF is based in Denver with lending services available statewide.  

CEF makes a positive impact on Colorado’s economy by accelerating community prosperity through its financing and support of entrepreneurs and small businesses across the state.  

For more information, visit: 

Contact: Kelly Nelson Leathers
Direct: 303-909-5716

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