By Megan Sayles,
AFRO Business Writer,
Gov. Wes Moore recently committed $15 million to Lendistry, a minority-led community development financial institution (CDFI). The company aims to provide capital to the small businesses of Maryland.
With the funds, Lendistry will be able to deploy loans of up to $350,000 to small business owners who are socially and economically disadvantaged. The initiative will also serve companies that are targeted by CDFIs, like minority-owned and other underserved businesses, and entrepreneurs who operate businesses with less than 10 employees.
Moore’s commitment is part of Maryland’s State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), which will deploy up to $198 million in loans and equity investments to businesses that have minimal opportunities for growth.
“As the first Community Development Fund Institution to begin offering loans through Maryland’s State Small Business Credit Initiative program, Lendistry will unlock opportunities for small businesses to grow and expand in the state,” Moore wrote in a statement. “Through this infusion of funds, the state can work with lenders to reach even more businesses that need investment to support their success.”
Opened in 2015, Lendistry primarily focuses on providing access to capital to underserved entrepreneurs. It offers business loans, lines of credit, commercial real estate loans and avenues for small businesses to receive grants from government and private programs.
Since its inception, Lendistry has served more than 595,000 small businesses, providing over $8.9 million in small business loans and grants across the nation; 74 percent of the capital has been issued to minority-owned businesses.
“As I’m out and talking to small business owners, one of their greatest challenges that is often expressed is gaining access to capital to all their businesses to scale and grow,” said Clarence Campbell, senior managing director of sales for Lendistry. “This will allow us to reach and provide more support to the small business community in Maryland.”
According to Campbell, the investment from Governor Moore allows Lendistry to reduce its risk as a lender, while leveraging the capital to support Maryland small businesses.
He said he anticipates that Lendistry will be ready to deploy loans in the coming months.
“Our small businesses are really our largest employers in the state of Maryland,” said Campbell. This is going to help us to drive job creation and retention, which is ever-critical.”
Megan Sayles is a Report for America Corps member.