Treasurer Summers, Small Business Majority, Fundera and Local Lenders Announce SimpleGrowth Loan Portal
Online lending tool is designed to provide Chicagoland businesses with easy access to affordable local financing and business assistance
Chicago, IL—Chicago City Treasurer Kurt Summers, along with national advocacy group Small Business Majority, national online lending marketplace Fundera and nonprofit microlender Accion, today announced a first-of-its-kind local lending portal, SimpleGrowth, to connect Chicago small businesses with area lenders.
“We are excited to be the first city to provide this technology on a local level in order to connect Chicago-area businesses to lenders and small business assistance in their neighborhoods,” Treasurer Summers said. “Healthy businesses support thriving communities and improve the overall picture of economic development for residents. This SimpleGrowth tool is another leap forward in my office’s mission of boosting the economy and creating a climate for job creation, especially in traditionally underrepresented neighborhoods.
SimpleGrowth is an online lending tool that aims to close the gap in access to capital by bringing together local lenders that are committed to growing Chicago’s neighborhood businesses. All lending institutions have mission-driven goals to support small business owners including Accion, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Small Business and the Women’s Business Development Center.
“Lack of access to capital for small businesses is a major problem and is throttling our economy. Small business owners represent 99 percent of employer firms, but many who seek financing under $250,000 are routinely denied with little recourse to find financing or business support elsewhere,” said John Arensmeyer, Small Business Majority Founder and CEO. “This level of financing is usually needed during critical growth phases for businesses.”
“Fundera is proud to have built a platform that empowers Chicago’s small businesses to find the cheapest forms of credit quickly and easily,” said Jared Hecht, co-founder and CEO of Fundera. “We’re thrilled to be a part of SimpleGrowth, an initiative that will pave the way for Chicago businesses to get the capital they need to grow and help Chicagoland mission-based lenders along the way.”
“At Accion, we are committed to finding new ways to help entrepreneurs grow,” said Brad McConnell, CEO of Accion in Chicago. “The SimpleGrowth platform will make it easier for Chicago-area small business owners to find responsible lenders and advisors, and we’re excited to have worked with great partners in developing this tool. For any entrepreneur who needs capital, coaching, or connections to grow a business, Accion is here to help.”
After completing SimpleGrowth’s free application, small businesses will be matched with loans they qualify for. The SimpleGrowth platform will also connect Chicago small businesses that don’t currently qualify for loans to small business assistance centers across the city that can help with business advising, planning and other support services.
“Small businesses are engines that create jobs, make neighborhoods inviting and power local economies,” said Charlie Corrigan, vice president, JPMorgan Chase Foundation. “We’re proud to fund the SimpleGrowth portal because we’re confident that with a little help these businesses will make a significant impact on our neighborhoods.”
SimpleGrowth was developed with input and support from World Business Chicago. Initial funding for SimpleGrowth is provided by JPMorgan Chase Foundation, with additional support from Chicago Community Trust, Wells Fargo’s Diverse Community Capital Program and other funders. For more information or to apply for a loan through SimpleGrowth, visit www.SimpleGrowth.biz.
About Small Business Majority
Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to ensure America’s entrepreneurs are a key part of an inclusive, equitable and diverse economy. We actively engage our network of more than 55,000 small business owners in support of public policy solutions and deliver information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.