Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Giving Program recently announced the Small Business Economic Mobility Initiative, a five-year, multimillion-dollar philanthropic investment in small business growth through increased access to affordable capital and better borrower education. The first round of grants totaling $13.6 million went to eight national nonprofit organizations that provide access to capital and education to underserved U.S. small businesses including women, minorities and veterans. The announcement was made in celebration of National Small Business Week (May 4-8).
[Related: Risingstars Founder to Speak at Entrepreneurs Summit]
Through 2019, Sam’s Club’s Small Business Economic Mobility initiative aims to enable nonprofit Community Development Financial Institutions to make 5,000 loans to underserved small businesses with focus on women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses with fewer than 20 employees; unlock $100 million in new capital from non-bank, community lending resources to low- and moderate-income small business owners; support 28,000 jobs in the small business community; and, reach one million underserved small business owners with education on responsible lending and better borrower practices.
Sam’s Club launched the philanthropic initiative to respond to the national struggle for small business owners in low-to-moderate income communities to attain affordable loans and navigate the lending process. By bringing together expertise, business initiatives such as the recently announced Business Lending Center and philanthropic investments, Sam’s Club and Sam’s Club Giving Program are uniquely positioned to help small business owners access affordable capital.
Across the country, small businesses and entrepreneurs report that access to capital is a major barrier to growth. According to The State of Small Business Lending report published by Harvard Business School fellow and former SBA Administrator Karen Mills, the share of small business loans provided by banks 20 years ago was about 50%, compared to only 30% in 2012. Specifically, minority owned businesses typically encounter higher borrowing costs, receive smaller loans and see their loan applications rejected more often by banks, according to a Minority Entrepreneurship Report published by UC-Berkeley and Wayne State University.
”Our founder Sam Walton started Sam’s Club to help small businesses get access to big business savings, save money and grow their businesses as a result,” Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO of Sam’s Club, said in a released statement. “Through this philanthropic investment, our founders’ legacy is carried forward by fortifying our communities’ lending resources to increase access to capital and borrower education for small business owners. In collaboration with dedicated nonprofits, we are proud to open doors for small business and strengthen the backbone of the U.S. economy.”