Anne-Marie Saint-John, Alva, Long Island City, NY >
Since 2018, Ascendus has embarked on a three-prong growth strategy to serve women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs of color. Those prongs include introducing new products, expanding to relevant new geographic markets, and focusing on key industry verticals. In this month’s Credit Lines, we present a pilot product to enhance our client’s financial health through $50,000 term life and $50,000 accidental death and dismemberment insurance protection that clients do not have to pay for. We celebrate our expansion to two new markets (Atlanta and Detroit) and the growth of an existing market (Miami). Regarding industry verticals, we share a story about Coco Leaf, which reflects our focus on the food service and beverage industry. Ascendus provided the startup financing for Coco Leaf approximately seven years ago, and today, Coco Leaf franchises its business model across the USA. It’s springtime, and I am pleased to report that our idea innovation showers have produced impactful product flowers for vulnerable small business owners.
Yours in impact innovation,
Ascendus launched a first in the nation Microinsurance Program that provides clients with a combined $100,000 in Life and AD&D (accidental death and dismemberment) microinsurance when they receive a loan; clients do not pay for the cost of the life insurance. Now, Ascendus clients are in a better position to mitigate financial shocks. A microloan paired with life insurance creates a triple bottom line for clients who participate in the program: access to capital, credit development, and financial protection through better financial planning, moving the needle on improved household financial health.
Ascendus Grows Existing Market Through Launch of EOCF in Miami
Ascendus is growing our reach to entrepreneurs of color through the launch of the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund in Miami. Through funding from JP Morgan Chase, this program will help business owners grow their revenues, create jobs, and build intergenerational wealth. Claudia from Pega Grill in Miami was forced to cease operations for over two months during the pandemic. She incurred inventory losses, overdue rent and bills, and unexpected equipment failure. Through Ascendus and the EOCF, Claudia covered food inventory, rent, bills, replaced her broken dishwasher, and successfully continued operations.
Ascendus Closes Loans in Three Expansion Markets
A core element of Ascendus’s growth strategy is expanding to relevant new markets. With this element in mind, Ascendus has grown our team in Miami through the addition of a business development officer, and launched programs in Atlanta and Detroit where two local business development officers are building a market presence and providing loan capital and support to small businesses. This month Ascendus has served clients in all 3 of these markets – Miami, Atlanta, and Detroit.
Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month with Coco Leaf
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month, and Ascendus is celebrating through the stories of our AAPI small business owners. Eric and Peter from Coco Leaf wanted to bring a part of their culture to their community in Boston. They opened their first bubble tea shop that celebrated combining Asian and American flavors with support from Ascendus. During the pandemic, they received another loan to keep their employees on payroll, and their businesses open. Today, they have three locations, and are franchising their model, and growing, nationwide.
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