Many small business owners have the drive, the ingenuity and the grit to make their business successful, but often access to capital is a barrier to entry. Research published by the Small Business Administration noted the struggle may be compounded for women and minority business owners and that, despite their growing economic significance, women and minority-owned firms tend to have an inadequate access to capital.
Samâ€™s Club and Samâ€™s Club Givingcontinue to address the unmet needs of small business ownersâ€”especially women, minorities and veteransâ€”with $8.8 million in new grants. These grants have been awarded to organizations dedicated to borrower education initiatives that ease the top barrier to entry for many small businesses, which is access to capital.
In 2015, Samâ€™s Club and Samâ€™s Club Giving announced the Small Business Economic Mobility initiative, a five-year investment in small business growth through increased access to capital and borrower education. The initiativeâ€™s first round of grants totaled $13.6 million to eight national nonprofit organizations that provide access to capital and borrower education to underserved U.S. small businesses, including women, minorities, and veterans.
Samâ€™s Club, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is a leading membership warehouse club offering superior products, savings and services to millions of members in 652 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Samâ€™s Club launched a philanthropic initiative to respond to the national struggle for small business owners in low-to-moderate income communities to attain affordable loans and navigate the lending process. Through the recently announced Business Lending Center and philanthropic investments, Samâ€™s Club and Samâ€™s Club Giving are uniquely positioned to help small business owners access affordable capital.
â€œSamâ€™s Club has a long history of helping small businesses get access to big business savings, save money and grow their businessesâ€”thatâ€™s the reason our founder Sam Walton started Samâ€™s Club,â€ according to Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmartâ€™s chief sustainability officer and president of The Walmart Foundation. â€œWhen small businesses succeed, economic growth and job creation follow, which is why Samâ€™s Club and Samâ€™s Club Giving are committed to creating small business prosperity by awarding grants to national nonprofit organizations that help to increase access to capital and better education for underserved business owners.â€
The first round of Small Business Economic Mobility initiative grants made in 2015 are already having a positive impact. Samâ€™s Club Giving gave the Opportunity Finance Network a $3.6 million grant to support development of an educational campaign to inform small business owners about affordable, responsible alternatives to predatory lending. â€œWith the grant from Samâ€™s Club Giving, OFN was able to create Venturize, a first-of-its-kind online platform designed to equip small business owners, especially those of color, women and under 40, with powerful tools they can use to make important decisions about accessing responsible capital,â€ explains Mark Pinsky, OFN’s president and CEO.