(ATLANTA, GA, October, 29, 2013) Nonprofit small business lender, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), launched the Women Investing in Successful Entrepreneurs (WISE) loan program today. WISE is a two-year start-up initiative which will provide access to capital coupled with business advisory services for women who are expanding or starting a business in metropolitan Atlanta or north Georgia.

At the WISE kick-off breakfast hosted at The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta on October 29, almost 100 women entrepreneurs and supporters gathered to hear Najada Kumbuli, Investment Officer of the Calvert Foundation, announce the first investment of $500,000 in WISE. “Calvert Foundation, through its Women Investing in Women initiative, has invested nearly $15MM in women’s initiatives worldwide. We approached ACE because of their commitment to support women through their successful mission-based small business lending program. We are also impressed by their determination to empower women through leading by example as seen by their majority female leadership.”

ACE President Grace Fricks said, “Our organization’s ability to obtain a $500,000 investment from Calvert Foundation for small business loans to women has set the pace for this exciting new opportunity for women entrepreneurs.  When ACE got the call from Calvert about a potential investment in our upcoming WISE program, we were thrilled.   This is the first direct Georgia investment of any kind from Calvert Foundation.  In the world of nonprofits that grow businesses through loans, a Calvert Foundation investment is a coveted signal to other funders.”

While ACE is committed to helping start and nurture small businesses, the WISE program’s major emphasis is on helping existing women business owners get to the next level.  American Express Open released its 2013 report identifying Georgia as the first for growth in the number of women-owned businesses, but 21st in revenues they generate, and 13th in the number of employees.  The WISE program means Georgia can better serve women businesses’ growth needs and, in turn, those businesses boost the Georgia economy.

“In the last 13 years, ACE has loaned more than $16MM to 500 businesses who created or saved more than 3000 jobs; but ACE can do more. We not only can bring capital to female entrepreneurs, but we can provide educational opportunities and a supporting network through our relationships with the many professional and business organizations in Atlanta and Georgia”, Fricks added.

ACE will raise $2.5MM in debt capital for relending to women entrepreneurs and will raise $500,000 for operations and advisory services.

More information can be accessed through www.aceloans.org.

Calvert Foundation is a unique intermediary that connects impact investors seeking to invest in the potential of individuals and communities in the U.S. and around the globe. To date, investors and supporters have helped Calvert Foundation build or rehabilitate over 17,000 homes, create 430,000 jobs in the U.S. and in developing countries, and finance over 25,000 cooperatives, social enterprises, and community facilities.

ACE grows businesses. For thirteen years, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs has created or saved jobs by helping small businesses. ACE provides small business loans, coupled with business advisory services, to credit-worthy businesses that are overlooked by traditional financial institutions. With offices in Decatur and Cleveland, GA, ACE has loaned more than $16MM to 500 businesses who have saved or created 3,000 Georgia jobs. ACE is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit corporation. ACE is a US Treasury-Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI.) As a CDFI, ACE is committed to helping the underserved- people of color, those in lower income brackets, and women.