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Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority Spearheads Online Resource Hub for Small Business Lending

Innovative platform provides interactive tools and information about reliable loan options, with a focus on serving fast-growing segment of women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs of color

Small Business Majority is proud to announce it is taking the lead on a resource portal that will give small businesses increased access to responsible capital. Venturize, an all-in-one resource hub for small business financing options developed by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), will help connect small firms with approved lenders and business assistance providers that want to see America's small businesses succeed.

Venturize currently offers unbiased education and resources to small business owners seeking loans to empower them to make the best financing decision for their business. Venturize was designed to help all businesses, and especially small business owners who are key economic drivers of their communities-people of color, women and younger entrepreneurs. These groups need to be supported because they are critical to growing our economy: For example, the number of women-owned businesses increased by 114 percent over the past 20 years, compared to a 44 percent increase among all businesses-a growth rate more than 2.5 times the national average. What's more, firms owned by women of color grew at more than four times the rate of women-owned businesses (467 percent). However, the growth rate slowed last year, largely due to a lack of capital and resources. Research also shows minority-owned firms are less likely to receive loans, receive lower loan amounts and pay higher interest rates than non-minority firms.

Small Business Majority is overseeing Venturize through its next phase to serve this fast-growing segment of the economy and connect to more small businesses that need help accessing responsible capital and becoming loan-ready. As part of this next phase, Small Business Majority will leverage its partnerships with community development financial institutions (CDFIs), technical assistance providers and business organizations across the country to bolster their capacity to offer high-quality, personalized assistance and develop a customizable portal that offers a needs-based matching tool to connect entrepreneurs with the right resources. Venturize will be incorporated into Small Business Majority's existing Entrepreneurship Program, which debuted in 2015 to help small businesses gain access to critical resources on issues like responsible lending, retirement, healthcare and other benefits.

"For entrepreneurs, getting even a small loan could determine whether or not a business succeeds or fails," - said Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer. "Securing funding is a major challenge for almost all entrepreneurs, and while obtaining capital might feel like an uphill battle, the truth is there are more funding options today than ever before. Our new resource portal outlines these funding options and provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to make the best decisions for their small business."

OFN launched Venturize in 2016, and since its inception the platform has engaged an estimated 330,000 small business owners through its teaching tools and interactive resources.

"We are excited that Small Business Majority is taking on the next phase of development for Venturize," - said OFN President and CEO Lisa Mensah. "More small business owners will prosper when they are armed with the information they need to borrow with confidence. Venturize is a natural extension of the great work the Small Business Majority already does to connect entrepreneurs to responsible capital. The potential for continued platform enhancement and audience growth is tremendous and we are cheering them on."

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, Facebook and Instagram.

About OFN
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), strives to ensure low-income and other under-resourced communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. Members of OFN are CDFIs that deliver responsible lending to help low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2016, OFN's network originated $53 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,200,000 jobs, start or expand nearly 256,000 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of nearly 1.9 million housing units and 10,429 community facility projects. For more information, visit www.ofn.org.

Simon Brown | Media Relations Manager
(202) 535-3229 | sbrown@smallbusinessmajority.org

To learn more about Venturize, please visit: http://www.venturize.org

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