National Small Business Week kicked off yesterday with an awards event hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The ceremony featured the Jody C. Raskind Award for the 2019 Microlender of Year. This year’s award went to the Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF), a longtime member of the Friends of the SBA Microloan Program. CEF was one of the first 35 nonprofit intermediaries selected for the SBA Microloan Program in 1992. Since then, CEF has dispersed 1,457 Microloans totaling $18.5 million, which has helped create/retain 3,038 jobs. In fiscal year 2018, CEF dispersed 111 SBA Microloans totaling $1.8 million, and creating/retaining 445 jobs.
Jody C. Raskind led the SBA’s Office of Microlending for many years and was well-known for her commitment and dedication to small businesses, particularly in underserved areas. Ms. Raskind died in 2014 and the award was established in her memory. The first award was presented in 2015 to honor mission lenders that demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the creation, growth and expansion of small businesses in underserved markets with a demonstrable impact on the communities it serves.
From CEF’s press releases on the award:
“Small businesses fuel our economy in Colorado and throughout the nation. It is a great privilege to help entrepreneurs and small businesses gain access to capital that allows them to grow and thrive,” says CEF President and CEO Ceyl Prinster. “We are extremely honored to receive the Jody C. Raskind Lender of the Year Award and appreciate SBA’s continued partnership which allows us to support the vibrant, innovative business community in Colorado.”
CEF is a nonprofit lender that has served Colorado small businesses for more than 40 years, providing loans to those unable to obtain traditional bank funding.
In total, CEF has dispersed more than $81 million in start-up and growth capital to over 2,300 businesses and created or retained over 12,000 jobs in Colorado. CEF currently services a portfolio totaling $24.3 million to 611 small business borrowers. With the help of the SBA’s Microloan Program, as an early and ongoing source of loan capital and grants for business advisory services, CEF expanded its Denver Metro service area to be statewide, expanding its impact on Colorado small businesses.
For more information on CEF, visit www.coloradoenterprisefund.org.
Please stay tuned for more National Small Business Week posts on the Friends’ blog, highlighting the important work our members are doing to help minority, veteran, women, and low-income entrepreneurs turn their small business dreams into a reality.