Inclusive Small and Micro Business Lending Post-COVID

Thanks to our rock star line up of speakers and the over 130 registrants who made our 2021 Virtual MicroLenders Forum a success. This year was the first time that we opened the Forum up to our friends and colleagues outside California. Besides the great content and networking, CAMEO was excited to unveil our expanded and newly-branded CDFI Incubator, programs for young mission-based lenders that would like to strengthen their lending infrastructure, knowledge, and skills for greater impact and stronger portfolios. And we thank Wells Fargo, our lead sponsor, that helped make this event possible!

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman kicked us off with a summary of the SBA programs that helped the small business owners: PPP, EIDL (both targeted advances and loans), Restaurant Revitalization and Shuttered Venues programs, and efforts to streamline and expand the programs to meet the needs of the small businesses. For example, EIDL loans now can be used to pay off higher cost debt that businesses might have incurred when they needed quick cash to cover emergency COVID expenses. She talked about her philosophy for the SBA: customer-centric, technology forward, and equitable! And she even gave a shout out to CAMEO and our CDFI Incubator on our twitter feed.

Therese Meers, the Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Capital Access, U.S. Small Business Administration, talked about how California fares compared to the rest of the country in the SBA Microloan program. Some examples include:

  • The average microloan size in California was $23,000 in FY 2020.
  • Our state’s SBA microloans had a 6.8% charge off rate during COVID.
  • Late payments were 3.4% by number and 2.7% by dollar amount.

Ms. Meers also spoke about changes to the program, one of which CAMEO advocated for over many years – more flexibility in pre- and post-loan technical assistance. Now organizations can use 50% of their TA funds for pre-loan TA. She also mentioned new SBA direct lending, so we are looking forward to more details on that program. We look forward to continuing the conversation with Aya Ibrahim, of the National Economic Council, about how small businesses make decisions on their financing options much as a consumer would on a mortgage or a car loan. She also spoke about how the PPP was adjusted to facilitate sole prop applications, which was a big deal in many rural communities. Leila Roberts of NorCal SBDC chatted, “We worked with lots of happy, relieved clients!”

Then we moved onto state policy and talked about what’s on every lender’s mind these days – SSBCI 2.0 or the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The U.S. Treasury issued initial guidelines early this week (in time for the Forum ;) with more to come. The initial application is due on December 11, 2021 with the final application due in February of 2022. Scott Wu, who directs California’s IBank, explained that the state would invest in several different programs:

  • existing State Loan Guarantee Program (IBank)
  • existing Capital Access — I think this is CA Treasury’s Cal Cap program (CFPCA)
  • existing Collateral Support program (CFPCA)

They are also looking at new venture capital programs and loan participation programs. Additionally, two additional pots of money are available that the state will apply for: $500 million for financial/credit TA and $2.5 billion for loans to serve underserved entrepreneurs. Wu will be holding stakeholder meetings and we will be sure to let you know when they are. We received twitter a shout out from the IBank as well!

Download Scott’s presentation on the U.S. Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative.

A big thanks goes to Megan Teare, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment, who introduced our CDFI Incubator as an investor and sponsor of the Forum.

Download Emily’s presentation on the CDFI Incubator.

Last but definitely not least, was Rocio Sanchez-Moyano, Senior Researcher, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, who presented valuable information from the Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey on how different small businesses are faring with access to credit.

Her data for California Employer firms included:

  • Currently 2/3 of are using large banks for financial services
  • The top financial challenge in the past 12 months has been paying operating expenses
  • Currently 2/3 are using personal funds to deal with financial challenges in their business

For additional info you can access the following reports:

Download Rocio’s presentation on the Small Business Credit Survey.


10:00 am National and State Small Business Policy

Isabella Casillas Guzman, Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration

Therese Meers, Deputy Associate Administrator, Office of Capital Access, U.S. Small Business Administration

Aya R. Ibrahim, Policy Advisor, National Economic Council, The White House

Scott Wu, Executive Director, IBank

11:15 am CDFI Incubator and Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey

  • Megan Teare, Managing Director, Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment, Minneapolis, Minnesota 
  • CAMEO’s CDFI Incubator
  • Rocio Sanchez-Moyano, Senior Researcher, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco – Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey
  • Small and large group discussions on how your strategies on risk and underwriting are changing given the realities of the past year

12:30 pm Raffle and Networking

Raffle Prizes

$40 Gift Certificate to Maya’s Cookies

San Diego Region, Accessity

Founded in 2015 by Maya Madsen, Maya’s Cookies is America’s #1 Black-Owned Gourmet Vegan Cookie Company. As a vegan with a sweet tooth, she had not been able to find that perfectly delicious, soft-baked gourmet vegan cookie, so she spent years crafting her award-winning and crowd-pleasing recipes. From the classic to unique and forward-thinking flavors such as “Chocolate Chip S’mores” and “Marble Fudge”, every flavor has a story grounded in Maya’s travels, memories, and experiences. Alongside providing the highest quality product that appeals to everyone, Maya’s Cookies is committed to superior customer service and community engagement, with a focus on youth and underserved communities. Maya’s Cookies ships nationwide-simply order as a treat for yourself or as a gift. They have a yummy new fall collection!

Choice of 3 hand-blended spices from Studio Spice Co.

Los Angeles Region, CAMEO Staff

Theresa Nellamsis the owner of Studio Spice Co. Her love for cooking started in a tiny studio apartment on Chicago’s Northside. Studio living required her to maximize her kitchen space in order to have a quality cooking experience. Adhering to the philosophy of qualityabove quantity, her goal for Studio Spice Co. is to ensure tons of flavor go into each small hand-blended batch.Grand or modest, your kitchen serves as your very own studio space where sheencouragesyou to let your imagination run wild.Studio Spice Co.brings flavors from around the world into the homes of those eager to explore. Our mission is to elevate the cooking experience by providing unique spice blends to those who also have a passion for cooking.

We Believe that small batch blending sustains.

We Believe spices are the most important ingredient in any dish.

We Believe in sourcing the best quality ingredients.


  • $50 Gift Card to Tea’s With Meaning
  • Coffee Lover’s Bundle from Big House Beans Includes: Coffee Tasting Sampler, included the roaster’s selection of four 4oz bags – 1 blend and 3 single-origin offerings & Coffee with Purpose 12 oz Mug
  • El Diablito Jerky Bar Starter Pack (6 bars of Original and Fuego) from Acari

Bay Area Region, ICA Marketplace

  1. Teas With Meaning is an organic loose leaf and bottled tea blend company based in Oakland, California. “Magic is the main ingredient,” Mitchell often says. The magic of her teas are that they have multiple uses outside of an organic, fresh cup of tea to sip. Whether in baths, yoni steams, your favorite yogurt or plant compost, TWM herbs can be enjoyed after the initial brew. TWM also sells handcrafted ceramic mugs, merch, custom candles, coasters and more. Kamilah Mitchell is a founder, educator, and author committed to doing everything in life with meaning. Kamilah is a fearless leader and doer and giver. Surviving a brain tumor and now cancer has shaped much of her life. Starting Teas With Meaning in the midst of such a diagnosis is a testament to her spirit and resilience. Teas with Meaning is BIPOC owned utilizing good food principles as members of the Good Food Guild.
  2. As a former San Quentin prison inmate, John Krause, Co-Founder knows of the challenges life can throw at you. After re-entering society and finding hope again in a like-minded community, he decided to build sustainable business model to empower others who, like him, fight to fit the mold and created Big House Beans. It is a second chance. Every person is different, but we all have a purpose. We believe in birthing potential through highlighting diversity. We source unique coffees to keep the spectrum wide, allowing each one to flourish in its own way. We believe that of people as well. That is why the main goal of Big House Beans is to empower individuals through unconditional love and opportunities. To caffeinate and embrace our community through every bag of coffee. From the bloom to the last sip.
  3. The Acari Fish Story Started in the summer of 2017, El Diablito jerky is a tasty jerky that you won’t feel guilty eating. Because of the fish’s unique texture, El Diablito jerky brings a natural meatiness with no fishiness! As an invasive fish, ever delicious bite of El Diablito helps to restore the natural ecosystem. No concerns of overfishing or fish farming here!

Comments restricted to single pagefreshness & flavor.•We Believe in elevating your cooking experience, one spice blend at time