CDFI Created in Southern Nevada Using Settlement Funds

Effort headed up by Urban Chamber will create funding opportunities and nurture entrepreneurship

Carson City, NV - May 10, 2022

Nevada’s Board of Examiners on Tuesday approved the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s (GOED) contract with Access Community Capital in Southern Nevada to administer a minority-focused direct loan program, targeting startups and early-stage businesses based on the utilization of $6 million from the Attorney General’s office T-Mobile and Sprint settlement. The allocation to GOED was approved by the Nevada Legislative Interim Finance Committee on April 8, 2022.

“The main goal of the project is to seed a home-grown Nevada Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a direct focus on minority small business financing,” said Governor Steve Sisolak. “Through its revolving loan program, it will help grow businesses in low-income communities, with a focus on minority and women owned businesses — areas that have been historically overlooked by traditional financial institutions but are critically important to growing and diversifying Nevada’s economy.”

Access Community Capital has submitted its application for certification to the CDFI Fund, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“This will not only protect existing jobs for enterprising Nevadans, but also create opportunities for the creation of new businesses and new jobs,” said Attorney General Aaron Ford. “I thank Governor Sisolak and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development for working with my office to facilitate this investment of settlement funding.”

The funding for the CDFI is the result of the Nevada Attorney General’s settlement resolving concerns with the planned merger between T-Mobile and Sprint in 2019.
“CDFIs can be the unsung heroes and champions to the residents and businesses of low-income communities and communities of color,” said Karsten Heise, Senior Director Strategic Programs and Innovation of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. “According to the Opportunity Finance Network, CDFI borrowers are 84 percent low-income, 60 percent of color, and 50 percent women. CDFIs are vital. In addition to their commitment to deliver affordable credit and financial services to small businesses and communities underserved by mainstream commercial banks and lenders, they also provide much needed technical assistance services.”

Nic Steele, Executive Director of Access Community Capital, said his company was founded by entrepreneurs who know firsthand how the lack of access to affordable capital can stifle the growth trajectory of an otherwise successful business idea.

“The entire mission and premise of our organization is to help others achieve their highest potential,” Steele said. “When this is realized, there is a spillover effect, positively impacting their families, their community, and the state economy. I am excited to work with such innovative partners in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. And I am thankful for the vision and leadership of both Governor Steve Sisolak and Attorney General Aaron Ford.”

Ken Evans, President of the Urban Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber welcomes this collaborative effort with Access Community Capital to provide affordable capital for small, diverse business owners throughout Southern Nevada.

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Sisolak, Attorney General Ford, Director Brown and his GOED team for supporting and funding this much-needed CDFI initiative,” Evans said. “This is a definite game-changer that will produce equitable economic development participation and impacts for years to come.”

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Gregory Bortolin
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