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Microlending, MMS and CDFI Awards

Save the Date – December 3, 2013 – for our Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium in Los Angeles. This year’s theme: Food, Glorious Food Biz.

  • Microlending – MMS and CDFI Success
  • Ms CAMEO in DC
  • The Goodies – This week’s highlight includes a petition by Small Business Majority – Stop the Shutdown from a small business owner perspective.

Microlending – MMS and CDFI Success

Claudia and Shufina were in DC this week as a contributor to CFED’s Innovations in Microenterprise convening. Four groups presented strategies directed to scale up financial services to LMI populations, including Kiva Zip, tax preparation, loan servicing and CAMEO’s pilot for aggregating low volume lenders on the ACCION MMS platform. Following is a brief update on our MMS aggregation model:

Only 0.10% of potential micro-business borrowers are being served. In California, few of CAMEO’s microlenders have achieved scale. Our 28 member lenders made 1,500 microloans in 2012. Microlending is expensive for many lenders to sustain and as a result, some of CAMEO’s lenders have left the microloan market. With funding tighter than ever before yet with more demand, microlenders must increase efficiencies in order to increase the pipeline of loan-ready borrowers.

CAMEO has partnered with ACCION Texas to offer their Microloan Management System (MMS) platform to our CDFI members as a way to lower costs and increase production. MMS streamlines the underwriting process and frees lenders to focus on recruitment and TA. Four CAMEO members are part of the first cohort – California Capital, CDC Small Business Development, TMC Working Solutions and Women’s Economic Ventures – and WEV made their first loan using the system this week!

Read more about the challenges and elements of success in implementing the MMS platform.

Also this week we posted a very illuminating recent academic study that concludes that getting a loan contributes to start-up success. The authors determined that “[s]tartups receiving funding are dramatically more likely to survive, enjoy higher revenues and create more jobs.”

CDFI Awards for 2013

Continuing on the microlending theme, we congratulate the nine CAMEO members who received funding from the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to support small business.

  • Accion San Diego – $747,000
  • California FarmLink – $600,000
  • Fresno CDFI – $600,000
  • Opportunity Fund – $1,347,000
  • OBDC Small Business Finance – $1,347,000
  • PACE – $100,000
  • Santa Cruz Community Credit Union – $847,000
  • Working Solutions – $600,000
  • Womens Economic Ventures – $600,000

The 2013 grantees were awarded total of $6.8 million, that’s an increase of $1 million over last year. The funds will provide loan capital and business technical assistance to start-up businesses and those that want to grow.


Claudia met with the SBA’s new Director of Capital Access, Ann Marie Mehlum, to give her a snapshot of the micro lending landscape in California. Ms. Mehlum comes from Oregon, where she was CEO of Summit Bank. She expressed her concern about the lack of scale in micro lending and is eager to learn how our members, and CAMEO, are addressing this issue. We look forward to hosting a meeting with her and our members in California soon.

With Emergent Research, CAMEO co-hosted a Roundtable on Self-Employment Trends on September 25. Community Affairs staff from the Federal Reserve and senior managers from CFED, AEO, Booz Allen, National Women’s Business Council and MBO Partners contributed to a day of lively discussion over startling new data. For example, 18 million self-employed created $98 billion in payments to other contractors, the equivalent of 2.3 million full time employees. Self-employment is projected to grow so that in the next 5-10 years we will have a 50-50 workforce (50% self-employed, 50% wage employees). The whole concept of work is being redefined.

The Goodies

New opportunities for trainings, conference information, funding, scholarships, and other information that have crossed our desks since the last Must Know: I have posted a running tab of current Goodies on the CAMEO website that lists items that were in past emails. Check it out to make sure you’re not missing anything, like grants whose deadlines are still alive!

Member Kudos: Congrats to El Pajaro CDC, Fresno CDFI and Opportunity Fund. They each received a PG&E 2013 Economic Vitality Grant. PG&E reviewed close to 200 applications requesting approximately $4.5 million in funding. They are providing 10 organizations with $25,000 each to encourage economic vitality throughout the service territory.

Take Action: Our colleagues at Small Business Majority launched Stop the Shutdown from a small business owner perspective. The fact that we are having this conversation right now is frustratingand scary for business owners and their customers. Please join them in one or all of the following ways:

  • Lend a quote to their “What the Experts are Saying” page. You can see what’s been said and add your organization’s CEO voice. Reply if interested.
  • Sign and then SHARE the petition.
  • Tweet and post on Facebook: #smallbiz & #entrepreneurs need certainty from our government, please #StopTheShutdown. SIGN ON:

Healthcare Webinars: Small Business Majority and the Small Business Administration are hosting a webinar series that will discuss the new healthcare law – the Affordable Care Act – and what it means for California small businesses. The webinars take place at 10:00am PDT on October 1, 8, 15. Feel free to forward to your clients.

New Report: FIELD has a new case study, Scaling Business Development Services through Distance Learning, profiles the experiences and lessons WESST has learned in developing distance-learning services to assist entrepreneurs across New Mexico. You can also listen to a recorded webinar on WESST’s distance learning experience.