November 15, 2021 (Atlanta, Georgia) The Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) Fund was designed to help the smallest businesses and nonprofits across the South rebuild from COVID-19. The fund has deployed an initial $11 million in flexible, low-interest loans across 14 states and Washington. D.C. Created by community lenders to provide affordable capital and free advisory support to entrepreneurs in underbanked communities, the Fund recently welcomed new investors and now has an additional $53 million available to help small businesses build back from the pandemic through its CDFI partners.
ACE is one of 12 other CDFI’s in originating loans purchased by the Fund.
Of the $11 million distributed to nearly 250 small businesses, 79% of loans have gone to business owners who self-identify as a woman or a person of color, with 49% going to Black-owned businesses. Nearly 90% of the loans went to businesses with 10 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, and 76% of recipients have annual revenues less than $500,000. Small businesses supported have included restaurants, early childhood centers, health service providers, local produce farms, construction contractors, and retail stores, among others.
The SOAR Fund makes low-interest loans and free business support available to businesses and nonprofits with 50 or fewer full-time employees in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Eligible applicants can apply online and be matched to a lender in less than five minutes at www.thesoarfund.org.
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