Anne-Marie Saint-John, Alva, Long Island City, NY >
My History in Black History
Ricardo Antonio Ortiz Ayarza, a Black small business owner, was the great-grandson of General Fernando Ayarza, who successfully fought for the independence of Latin America under Simon Bolivar, ‘The Liberator,’ and then defended the new republic of Ecuador for decades later. Ricardo channeled his energy as a young adult working as a carpenter, later learning tiling and electrical work. Eager to absorb knowledge and to innovate for impact, he learned how to read, made blueprints, and absorbed Roman, Greek, Spanish, and Byzantine designs from an Italian architect. With this experience, Ricardo started his small business as a general contractor, focusing on commercial buildings and public works. This business supported his family, which grew to include six children. Professional engineers sought his expertise on challenging projects, such as one instance where they could not figure out how to build a multi-floored, spiraled staircase (as one might see in Paris.) Ricardo figured it out and successfully made it. He developed a strong network with the elected officials, persuading them to build a new public school in a less developed part of the city and engaged in the local political system. Upon his death at fifty-eight and in gratitude for his support over the years, a labor union called “Club de Guayaquil” built a tomb devoted to him, where he rests today. He was a beloved father, husband, businessman, civic leader, and advocate for justice. He valued family and education, loved music and dancing, and lived a principled life. He was my grandfather.
Yours in celebrating my history in Black History,
Ascendus’s New Get Ready Loan Program Addresses Credit Challenges for Black Entrepreneurs
Credit development is essential for Black entrepreneurs so they can support small businesses, create meaningful job opportunities, and build their financial health and sustainability. 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 will provide one-on-one support for each client throughout the life cycle of this three-year pilot program. This program will bridge the capital access gap for Black small business owners. The Get Ready 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.
Ascendus Partners with NYC to Launch Largest Loan Fund in City History
New York City small businesses are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest ever loan fund in New York City history, the $75 million dollar NYC Small Business Opportunity Fund, seeks to help New Yorkers grow their business and pay down debt through flexible and affordable financing. Ascendus is one of eight CDFI lenders selected to disburse the fund and provide no-cost financial advice. Loans will be offered between $2,000 – $250,000, and approximately 1,500 loans are expected to be delivered to majority minority- and women owned small businesses through this program.
Ascendus Delivers $38.4MM in Capital To Small Businesses in 2022
Ascendus more than doubled the amount of capital we made available annually pre-pandemic. We supported over 10,000 small businesses nationwide, providing $38.4 million in loan capital to 1,156 individuals. We focused our services on populations we seek to serve: 78% of our clients were entrepreneurs of color, the majority of whom are Black or Latinx. We also grew lending among low- to moderate-income clients: 70% of clients were low- to moderate-income. In addition, our clients supported the creation or retention of more than 3,200 jobs through these loans.
Celebrate Black History Month with the Ascendus Marketplace
Shop a selection of Black small businesses that ship nationwide on the Ascendus marketplace. With everything from fair trade coffee, skincare products, and delicious desserts, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Looking for something unique? Try our client – The Best Blue Velvet Cupcake! Chequita Blake used an Ascendus loan to start a small cupcake stall in the mall in Florida. Today, she has expanded from a stall to a kiosk, to a store, and now to two stores with another on the way.
Support a Local Black-Owned Small Business Through the Ascendus Marketplace:
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