Cambridge Savings Bank Empowers Black-Owned Businesses
Cambridge Savings Bank (CSB), a customer-centric full-service mutual bank boasting over $6 billion in assets, is delighted to announce its approval of a generous $100,000 grant to back the Cambridge Equity Fund.
This laudable initiative is spearheaded by the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), a well-established 501(c)(3) organisation with a mission to leverage business as a force for social, environmental, and economic progress.
Within the SBN's Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network (CSBBN), the Cambridge Equity Fund will provide crucial resources aimed at uplifting and supporting minority-owned businesses within the local community.
Since its inception in August 2020, CSBBN has served as a dynamic platform for Black entrepreneurs to unite and identify tailored programmes to bolster their success in the post-pandemic landscape.
This latest initiative focuses on collaboration with Black-owned businesses in Cambridge and Somerville, offering vital support to those navigating the challenges of starting up, expanding, or recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. CSB's dedication to this grant underscores its unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive and thriving business ecosystem with a customer-first approach.
Nicola Williams, Facilitator, and Founder of Cambridge-Somerville Black Business Network and Board Member of Sustainable Business Network, expressed her appreciation for the substantial grant from Cambridge Savings Bank.
Having been a loyal CSB customer for nearly three decades, she acknowledged CSB as a steadfast source of support. The grant's impact will significantly bolster efforts to address the intersecting racial, economic, and health crises faced by minority-owned businesses post-pandemic.
By tackling the primary cause of Black businesses' struggles - lack of follow-up capital and technical assistance - CSB's timely support marks a critical step forward in challenging historical inequities head-on.
Out of the total grant, $80,000 will be dedicated to providing technical assistance grants ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 to selected businesses. The proficient team at SBN will play a pivotal role in overseeing the grant application process, ensuring that these funds reach the 10 to 15 small businesses most in need of financing to fuel their growth.
Furthermore, SBN's staff has implemented a systematic follow-up process with grant recipients to ensure proper administration and optimal utilisation of the funds for sustained growth.
The remaining $20,000 contributed by CSB to the Cambridge Equity Fund will be directed towards programme administration, marketing campaigns, essential office materials, and general overhead costs necessary for running the initiative.
Laury Hammel, Executive Director at Sustainable Business Network, commended Nicola's influence and dedication in driving efforts to support Black-owned businesses, expressing confidence in the potential for success.
The invaluable partnership with Cambridge Savings Bank further solidifies its mission. Black and minority business owners often face barriers like limited access to family wealth or affluent networks coupled with higher debt levels that hinder credit access. CSB is acutely aware of this issue and wholeheartedly committed to making a positive impact. Their visible and active support for local causes serves as an inspiring example, and the hope is that other organisations will be inspired to join this transformative initiative.
In addition to the grants, CSB will provide mentorship to minority entrepreneurs. Moreover, CSB has pledged to prioritise comprehensive small business underwriting training for members of the Cambridge Equity Fund task force, ensuring fair risk assessments and informed decision-making.
Brad Fitts, First Vice President, Small Business Development Team Leader at Cambridge Savings Bank, reiterated the bank's dedication to promoting community stability and improving financial well-being. Valued partners, such as the Sustainable Business Network, play a vital role in fulfilling this crucial endeavour. Together, they strive to create a world where communities thrive with equitable opportunities, confidence, and financial well-being.
CSB's unwavering commitment to community partnerships is evident through its support of various non-profit and community programmes, providing grants, scholarships, sponsorships, financial education courses, and more.
Furthermore, the bank's Small Business Financial Education Programme empowers the broader community with information on best practices related to marketing, cash flow, financing options, and other topics that contribute to a company's overall financial health.
For additional information, please visit cambridgesavings.com/community.
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