In 2022, Ascendus focused on four key strategies to address the new challenges of our small business owners:
- Impact: Shifted from just access to capital to include improved financial health to increase our positive impact on clients
- Inclusion: Increasing inclusion for those most affected by the pandemic
- Innovation: Innovating new offers to address the new challenges, and
- Growth: Growing the organization through collaboration, inclusion, and innovation.
The shift to financial health reflected our understanding that financial inclusion was no longer enough. More than ever, our clients needed to be financially healthy, which we define as being resilient and able to access opportunities over time. To measure financial health, we spearheaded a new impact measurement framework to longitudinally measures our clients' progression across credit, cash flow, and financial health indicators. We are implementing the framework in 2023.
One lesson from the last two years is that the pandemic disproportionately and adversely impacted communities of color. For this reason, we increased the inclusion of women and entrepreneurs of color in our lending work. In 2022, Ascendus lent 78% of the capital made available to entrepreneurs of color, mostly Black and Latin American.
We innovated and launched three new offers to address the new challenges faced by small business owners.
- First, we launched our "Line of Credit Program," a revolving, evergreen capital solution that provides access to capital when needed.
- Second, we launched our "Rideshare Program," a unique solution for self-employed entrepreneurs offering delivery and transportation services, a group traditionally denied capital.
- Finally, we launched the "Get Ready" Line of Credit Program, focused on Black business owners who would otherwise not qualify by providing a small line of credit that grows 10x within six months and can increase FICO credit scores by up to fifty points. The goal is to help Black business owners "get ready" to access significant future capital.
Ultimately, Ascendus grew its mission. In 2022, we:
- Increased the capital deployed for small business owners to over $38.4 million (over twice our pre-pandemic level)
- Increased our loan portfolio serviced by 52%
- Increased our net assets by $4.4 million.
"My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon," wrote Mizuta Masahide, the 17th-century Japanese poet and samurai. Despite the infernal effects of the pandemic on business activity, followed by rising rents, inflation, increased interest rates, and labor shortages, our small business clients continued looking upward and forward to remain hopeful and resilient. Ascendus was lockstep behind them, guiding clients on their journeys.
Our vision of "financial ascension for all" served as our moonlight during the long, dark pandemic storm. Our strategic focus on impact, inclusion, innovation, and growth met the day's needs. With your continued support, we hope to continue adapting to future challenges as we guide our clients and our organization, 'This Way Up!'
Shifted from just access to capital to include improved financial health to increase our positive impact on clients
Small businesses served nationwide
Jobs created and saved
Loan capital deployed
Hours of direct counseling to 1,156 individuals
The shift to financial health reflected our understanding that financial inclusion was no longer enough.
More than ever, our clients needed to be financially healthy: resilient and able to access opportunities over time.
To measure this, we spearheaded a new impact measurement framework to longitudinally measure clients' progression across credit and cash flow, and will implement this in 2023.
Created a new impact framework focused on financial health
Financial health measures the ability to access opportunity and be resilient over time, and is grounded in growing credit and cashflow, and financial health indicators.
The impact one loan can make
Innovated new offers to address new challenges
The Get Ready Program: Developed better credit outcomes for Black entrepreneurs
Rideshare Loan: Provided a financial lifeline and security
$1.4MM to 105 rideshare drivers - 100% entrepreneurs of color
“It makes a world of difference to have someone believe in you.
Ascendus gave me resources, helped me build credit, and helped me prove that I could pay back a loan.”
Line of Credit: Our first revolving capital product
$1.3MM to 115 small business owners - 100% entrepreneurs of color
Reducing declination rates by 40% through the launch of a smart new scorecard
Increased inclusion for those most affected by the pandemic
“When the pandemic started and we lost the majority of our clients we didn't qualify for grants or loans as we were very small.
Ascendus believed in us and gave us a loan for us to invest in our company and help us pivot our business to launch three new products.”
Creating in-house loan funds
for clients locked out of
$2.4MM to 112 small business owners through support from the CDFI Rapid Response Program and the state of Massachusetts
“Capital access remains the most important factor limiting the establishment, expansion, and growth of minority-owned business.”
-U.S. Chamber of Commerce
In Black or Hispanic communities, most small businesses had fewer than 14 days cash buffer days on-hand
Only 31% of small businesses who applied for capital in 2021 received what they needed
40% of Black and 30% of Hispanic households are unbanked or underserved compared to just 12% of white households
Grew the organization through collaboration, inclusion, and innovation
“We are so grateful to Ascendus.
We hope to continue giving back as much as we can because of the help we have received.”
$25.6MM to 388 small
through regional Special
Purpose Vehicle Programs
Growth Through Collaboration: Designed and participated in regional Special Purpose Vehicle Programs. Grew our reach in the South and Pacific Northwest through programs such as The Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund (SOAR), The Washington Flex Fund, and The Connecticut Small Business Boost Fund
$30.4MM and 981 loans to Black, Hispanic, or women small business owners
Growth Through Inclusion: Industry focus on childcare and restaurants through in-house loan funds.
$2MM and 155 loans through new programs
Growth Through Innovation: Created new programs like the Line of Credit and Rideshare Programs.
We hired and grew our team by 30%
We expanded to new geographies, and added new roles.
Total net assets
Expenses attributed to program services
(excluding PPP loans, 30 DPD)
Your support creates financial health for small business owners and jobs and services for their communities
|Bank of America Charitable Foundation
|Alan Cody and Edith Moricz
|Berman Aries Family Charitable Fund
|Boston Beer Company
|Cambridge Savings Bank
|Capital One Bank
|Cheryl Myers and Steve Stockton*
|Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
|Dime Community Bank
|Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation
|Empire State Development
|Goldman Sachs & Co.
|Tyler Van Gundy
|HSBC Bank USA
|Hyde & Watson Foundation
|Fazeela and Shameer Yasin
|Investors Bank Charitable Foundation
|JP Morgan Chase Foundation
|Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation
|Jerry and B Lynn Crane
|Jerry and B Lynn Crane
|Mizuho USA Foundation
|Jessica Daniels and Paul Blackborow
|Moses Kimball Fund
|New York City Council
|Paul and Edith Babson Foundation
|People's United Bank
|Revolve Asset Management
|Roy A. Hunt Foundation
|Schwab Charitable Fund
|Max Myers and Victoria Richardson*
|Michael and Anne Marie Mlecko
|Silicon Valley Bank
|State Stox New York
|Sterling National Bank
|TD Charitable Foundation
|Patrick Peterson and Shirley Tsai
|US Small Business Administration
|Paul and Marieta Quintero*
|Wells Fargo Foundation
|William and Patricia Robbins Charitable Fund
|Sherry and David Cook*
|Shirley and Timothy Blancke
|Suzanne and Paul Lipsky
We believe in the Power of Up
Ascendus envisions a world of financial ascension for all. Our organization empowers low- to moderate-income (LMI) business owners with access to capital and financial education. With money and advice, small business owners have better access to opportunity, are more resilient in the face of adversity, and create opportunity for their employees, families, and the community. This Way Up!