Anne-Marie Saint-John, Alva, Long Island City, NY >

Ascendus Launches the Get Ready Program to Address Credit Challenges for Black Small Business Owners

New York – February 23rd, 2023

Most of the financial health industry focuses on increasing capital access through targeted selection of  women and minority small business owners with good credit. Over the past thirty years of funding 36,000 small business owners, Ascendus has observed that one of the single most significant obstacles for over half of these business owners is poor credit history. Ascendus believes the answer to this systemic challenge is building up the personal credit report of those they look to serve.  In response, Ascendus created the Get Ready Line of Credit program, which provides an initial $500 line of credit that grows to $5,000 within 6 months. Ascendus provides one-on-one support for each client throughout the life cycle of this three-year pilot program.

Credit development is essential for Black entrepreneurs so they can support small businesses, create meaningful job opportunities, and build their financial health and sustainability.  The program will kick off with a pilot consisting of a cohort of 50 borrowers, with plans to expand beyond New York City in 2023. The pilot will be monitored through an impact study. Ascendus expects 80% of “Get Ready” borrowers to improve their FICO credit score by 30 to 50 points with 50% of the borrowers  graduating and successfully growing their credit line to $5,000. The impact to these small business owners will include better access to wealth-building, personal services that require credit, and a lower cost of future borrowing.

“At Ascendus, we know that the ability to borrow is essential for financial health.  However, borrowing can be limited or unobtainable for many Black entrepreneurs with challenged credit.  For this reason, we created a line of credit product that helps Black entrepreneurs ‘Get Ready’ for small business borrowing and onto the path of greater financial health,” said Paul Quintero, CEO of Ascendus.

This program was made possible thanks to generous support from MetLife Foundation, seed funding from Mizuho Foundation, and additional support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Capital One Bank, and Goldman Sachs.


About MetLife Foundation

At MetLife Foundation, we are committed to driving inclusive economic mobility for underserved and underrepresented communities around the world. We collaborate with nonprofit organizations and provide grants aligned to three strategic focus areas – economic inclusion, financial health and resilient communities – while engaging MetLife employee volunteers to help drive impact. MetLife Foundation was established in 1976 to continue MetLife’s long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Since 1976, MetLife Foundation has contributed over $900 million to strengthen communities where MetLife has a presence. To learn more about MetLife Foundation, visit


About Ascendus

Ascendus has a bold vision of financial ascension for all. Our mission is to empower low-to-moderate income business owners with access to capital and financial education. Since our inception over 30 years ago, we’ve dispersed $336 million in capital to 47,000 small business owners – primarily BIPOC, women, and immigrants.

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