ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque-based microlending organization Acción will be making more loans to economically vulnerable entrepreneurs of color in four counties and on Native American pueblos and reservations thanks to a $1.8 million investment from the Kellogg Foundation.
Kellogg has approved its first-ever program-related investment in Acción, providing $1 million for loans over the next ten years to disadvantaged minority entrepreneurs in Bernalillo, Sandoval, McKinley and Doña counties, and to Native Americans on the state’s 23 pueblos and federally recognized tribal reservations. It also provided $750,000 in additional funds for services and support for loan recipients over five years.
The investment will enable Acción to provide 400 additional loans in those communities totalling $1.8 million, since Acción will continue recycling the funds to entrepreneurs as loan recipients pay back debt over the ten-year period, said Acción Director of Development and Strategy Marisa Barrera.
“This gives us a tremendous boost to our ability to reach more entrepreneurs in New Mexico with credit for startup, operations or growth of a business,” Barrera said. “The money is specifically to help us increase access to business capital for economically vulnerable entrepreneurs in the targeted communities.”
The additional support funds we’ll help strengthen Acción’s outreach and client relationship services in those communities.
“The Kellogg assistance effectively combines financial capital with social capital throughout the state, allowing us to make loans and provide support for one-on-one assistance workshops, mentoring and other services to borrowers,” Barrera said.
Kellogg wants to shore up Acción’s ability to help small business owners gain access to the startup capital they need to launch and thrive, said Kara I. Carlisle, Kellogg’s director of New Mexico programs.
“Growing small businesses in New Mexico is critical to the wellbeing of our children and families and to the state’s economy,” Carlisle told the Journal in an email. “The missing link for these owners often is access to capital, especially for entrepreneurs of color who may come from underserved communities.”
Acción makes low-interest loans with flexible terms to aspiring and existing small business owners who might not otherwise qualify for a loan from traditional lending institutions.
“Kellogg’s assistance helps to ratchet up to a whole new level the work we’re doing with Native American, African American, low-to–moderate income and women entrepreneurs,” said Acción Vice President of Advancement Lynn Trojahn.