Who We Are and What We Do
We create jobs, and we save jobs. ACE, as a nonprofit community lender, specializes in small-business loans coupled with business advisory services. We assist tiny start-ups and large, existing businesses – modest mom-and-pop enterprises as well as veteran, seasoned C.E.O.s – by making loans with generous repayment terms and affordable interest rates. For small companies in a vulnerable stage of growth, an ACE loan can mean the difference between success and failure, and for larger companies, our assistance can enhance competitiveness and sustainability.
In 2004 ACE was certified as a Community Development Financial Institution or CDFI. CDFI’s are mission-driven private financial institutions who are committed to supporting low-income, low-wealth, and other underserved people and communities. As the only CDFI supporting small businesses in North Georgia, ACE’s goal is to promote job growth and retention by helping small business owners create and grow strong, sustainable businesses.
ACE has emerged as a leader in responsive and innovative small business financing in Georgia. This leadership was recognized with a 2010 OFN Wells Fargo NEXT Award for innovation. In 2011, ACE was accepted into the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses CDFI Growth Collaborative, a working-group of 21 CDFIs from around the country who focus on expanding small business lending capacity and CNN Money recognized ACE as one of the country’s top 10 microfinance organizations. Microfinance in the U.S. is defined as the extension of credit up to $50,000. In 2014, ACE was named by the U.S. Small Business Administration Georgia Office as the Financial Services Champion of the Year; Grace Fricks, President and CEO, was named as on of the 100 Most Influential Georgians by Georgia Trend Magazine; and, ACE’s Women’s Business Center received the Women’s Business Center Excellence Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration Georgia Office for 2016.
Doubling Down: How ACE Responded to the Crisis
Because the economic recession of 2008 affected our clients, our business suffered, too. Instead of panicking, ACE lived up to its name by upping the ante. We used our expertise to diversify our practices, instituting loans for businesses and others seeking to develop sustainable business practices, energy efficiency, as well as healthy foods in “food deserts”.
These measures add up to job creation, more robust communities, and a cleaner environment in the 68 counties ACE serves. Happily, we have grown along with our clients, expanding our territory and offices, and we are recognized as a major contributor to Georgia’s ongoing, economic recovery — from urban communities in metro Atlanta to growing suburbs to rural, mountain enclaves.
The bottom line: Since ACE started making loans in 2000, the organization has made more than $49 million in loans, creating or saving more than 6,900 jobs in Georgia.