In 2022 our Board of Directors made the decision to take a hard look at gaps and barriers to access to capital in our community to develop an even more robust strategy for supporting local small businesses. Digging into the data, we developed the Tucson Capital Landscape Study and found some troubling statistics, but also some opportunities.
Tucson falls far behind demographically similar cities in access to affordable, small business capital.
Tucson is number 79th in the country for serving Latino entrepreneurs, despite being one of the top 20 major MSA's for Latino populations.
83% of entrepreneurs access do not access “traditional” capital, instead relying on friends, family, personal credit cards.
From this study we also saw the intersection between economic justice and environmental justice, and the opportunity that our historic federal investment in infrastructure was creating for underrepresented small businesses, if we were able to act quickly to put the right supports and tools in place.
To better serve access to capital needs of our community we have launched a subsidiary 501(c)3 nonprofit lender, called Groundswell Capital. The mission of this organization is: Investing for Impact in Equity, Sustainability, and Innovation. Our first two product lines under Groundswell Capital are the AVANZA Empowerment Fund and Arizona's first Green Bank.
A micro-loan fund ($500-$250,000) for underrepresented business that does not use collateral or credit scores for underwriting, but instead uses "social collateral" through 6 months of executive coaching.
A Green Bank brings together public and private dollars to de-risk and propel critical investments that make our community more sustainable.
KOLD | 3 April 2023
Tucson creates loan program to help underrepresented businesses
Avanza Empowerment Fund will provide small businesses with support and flexible capital.