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Three Part Harmony Produces New Capital for Fresno Small Business

Valley Small Business Development, a CAMEO member CDFI serving the Fresno and greater San Joaquin Valley region, forged a unique partnership with both Wells Fargo Bank and the Fresno Regional Foundation to facilitate a $1 million equity equivalent (EQ2) investment in small businesses.  These funds will help an estimated 25-30 businesses, and create about 200 new jobs in this economically distressed region.

CAMEO played a part in bringing together all the players:  Wells Fargo wanted to make more investments in the Central Valley, but had maxed out their investments in VSBDC.  The Fresno Regional Foundation was deeply concerned about the deteriorating business climate and high unemployment in their community and wanted some way to help struggling businesses and create jobs.  And, CAMEO’s goal is to expand micro lending to stimulate new businesses and jobs in our state.

Wells Fargo provided an EQ2 directly to the Foundation which then, in turn will reinvest the capital into VSBDC, and thus capitalize Valley’s Direct Small Business Loan Program.  This relationship depended upon the excellent 30-year track record of VSBDC and trust built up over time with the Fresno Regional Foundation’s staff and Board.

“This partnership is a monumental step towards changing the “way we do business” in the Central San Joaquin Valley”, said Debbie Raven, CEO of VSBDC.  “Fresno Regional Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank and Valley will be creating one of the first, if not the first, new lending models in the US.”