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Loan program looks to support businesses that are owned by and help communities of color

The Winston-Salem Foundation gave $100,000 to be distributed to local business owners by Piedmont Business Capital.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — More money is now available for small businesses in the Triad.  A loan program for businesses that are owned by and help communities of color in Forsyth County is now funded. The Winston-Salem Foundation is giving $100,000 to Piedmont Business Capital to distribute to business owners. 

Brittney Gaspari, from the Winston-Salem Foundation, said this is a goal they've had since January - to invest in Black and Brown communities. They earmarked $1.3 million to support an inclusive economy.

"In an economic sphere we know that communities of color or after the first impacted by recessions and economic crisis and they're often the last communities to recover," Gaspari said. "So we really believe that by focusing on businesses of color we design systems that provide a benefit everyone in the end. But if you do the reverse and you don't explicitly focus on communities of color the benefits will not trickle down into the full spectrum of the community." 

Piedmont Business Capital will get the money from the foundation to business owners. Executive Director, Wilson Lester, said these loans are available to more businesses because they're a community development financial institution.

"What that gives us an opportunity to do is color outside the box with traditional lending where we may accept a lower credit score, or we may accept not as much business history, or we may accept a cash flow that is competitive but it's not as strong as we may have hoped to see it in the main stream market," Lester said.

To qualify, businesses must have gone through the minority business enterprise grant program. That gives them a partnership with the city's chamber of commerce among other organizations that are interested in seeing them succeed. Lester said The Winston-Salem Foundation is committed to these business owners in an authentic way.

"This is not something that spawned out of a lot of the headlines of 2020," he said. "It was something that was in practice before investing in Black and Brown businesses in the black and brown communities across the country became so relevant and prevalent and in front of all of us."

If you are interested in the program head to Piedmont Business Capital's website.