Public-private partners unveil historic access to capital opportunity forCharlotte’s small businesses.A new $40 million fund aims to invest in

A new $40 million fund aims to invest in 2,000+ local businesses over the next four years with a
focus on bolstering underserved small businesses in Charlotte, including minority- and womenowned
small businesses. Catalytic funding comes from Ally Charitable Foundation, Atrium
Health, Bank of America, City of Charlotte and Truist.
Charlotte, N.C., May 14, 2024 — Community lenders, local corporate partners and the City of
Charlotte today announced the launch of “Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund,” a fund
aiming to provide $40 million in loans to more than 2,000 underserved small businesses over
the next four years. This is one of the largest non-pandemic access to capital opportunities
directed at small businesses in the history of Charlotte. Loans and outreach will be done
through community development financial institutions (CDFIs) whose mission is to support
underrepresented small businesses; it is anticipated that more than 70% of these loans could
benefit entrepreneurs of color.
“As a top destination for new businesses, Charlotte has one of the most vibrant economies in
the country,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “With the Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund,
we aim to level the playing field, ensuring every resident shares in our city’s growth and has
equitable access to entrepreneurial opportunities.”
The fund is managed and operated by Scale Link, a CDFI that expands access to inclusive
small business lending through its nationwide secondary market to buy and sell small business
loans originated by CDFIs. Catalytic funding for Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund comes
from Ally Charitable Foundation, Atrium Health, Bank of America, the City of Charlotte and
Truist. The CLT Alliance Foundation leveraged its access to capital to establish the fund and is
providing ongoing support and coordination. Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund delivers on
part of the Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative launched two years ago.
Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund details include:
● Available loans range in size from $1,000 to $250,000
● Loans have fixed interest rates of 9% to 12%; origination and application fees range
from 3% to 5%
● Average loan length is 48 months
● The fund is open to all businesses headquartered in Charlotte, but is especially designed
for businesses that do not qualify for traditional bank loans due to age of the business,
credit history, or lack of collateral

● Advising for applicants is available from participating CDFIs and other local partners to
help entrepreneurs qualify for loans
As one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States, Charlotte and its small business sector
are flourishing. However, not all Charlotte businesses have the same access to capital and
resources to grow. For instance, only 14% of minority-owned Charlotte businesses have access
to a bank loan at start-up.
Nearly 40% of Charlotte’s small businesses are minority-owned, meaning it is an economic
imperative to expand access to capital for these entrepreneurs. CDFIs are mission-based
lenders that specialize in delivering capital to underserved communities, making them
exceptionally well-positioned to close Charlotte’s small business financing gap. However, CDFIs
themselves are often undercapitalized, which is why this fund provides essential liquidity to
Charlotte’s frontline small business lenders.
“The economic opportunities for small business owners in Charlotte right now are truly exciting,”
said Brett Simmons, CEO of Scale Link. “The Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund will deliver
the capital community-based lenders need to support the city’s diverse, growing small
businesses. We’re honored to work alongside our CDFI partners, in collaboration with the City
of Charlotte, our investors, and everyone at the CLT Alliance Foundation, to support Charlotte’s
“The CLT Alliance Foundation is proud to play a supporting role in providing greater access to
the number one resource small businesses need to grow their businesses, and our economy by
extension – capital,” said Nate Hogan, president of the CLT Alliance Foundation.
Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund will boost the local lending capacity of CDFIs through an
innovative platform – operated by Scale Link and LoanWell – that will match businesses seeking
funding with one of six participating CDFIs. CDFIs participating in Charlotte Small Business
Growth Fund include Ascendus, ASPIRE Community Capital, Business Expansion Funding
Corporation (BEFCOR), Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) , and
DreamSpring . Scale Link will leverage its innovative secondary market model to purchase and
sell loans made by CDFIs through the fund, helping expand CDFI liquidity and enabling them to
scale their lending.
Business owners interested in receiving funding through Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund
can learn more and apply online at: All lending decisions will be made
by the respective CDFI lender matched to the application and based on qualifications, without
regard to race, sex or any other status protected by laws or regulations.


About Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund
Charlotte Small Business Growth Fund, a division wholly owned by Scale Link, is a fund
dedicated to bolstering underserved small businesses in Charlotte by increasing local lending
capacity of community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Over the next four years, the
fund aims to invest $40 million in Charlotte’s small businesses, supporting over 2,000
entrepreneurs. The loans are expected to primarily benefit businesses in low- and moderateincome
communities, including women- and minority-owned small businesses.
About Scale