As businesses across the state face challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the opening of the California Rebuilding Fund to help impacted small businesses rebuild from the economic crisis and keep local economies strong. This program is built to be a resource in the market for the next year as businesses pivot and recover.
The fund was developed as a result of recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, which emphasized the need to ensure that this economic recovery is equitable.
“Ensuring small businesses have access to capital will help stimulate economic growth across the state and support entrepreneurs working harder than ever to keep their doors open,” said Governor Newsom. “This public-private partnership will give underserved communities across California access to capital, making for a more inclusive economy.”
The California Rebuilding Fund is a public-private partnership that drives capital from private, philanthropic and public sector resources – including a $25 million anchor commitment and $50 million guarantee allocation from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) – to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). With this new Fund, California’s CDFIs will be better able to help under-banked small businesses recover and reposition themselves to survive the realities of the COVID-19 marketplace.
“As we work to recover from this recession, one of the most pressing issues we need to confront is the state of our small businesses,” said Scott Wu, Executive Director of IBank. “This unique collaboration will provide affordable capital to community lenders so they can get necessary funds into the hands of small businesses.”
The lenders will offer a standardized loan product with affordable and flexible terms for small businesses with loan sizes of up to $100,000. These loans are meant to be timed and structured to support businesses that are adapting their business and face upfront or ongoing expenses to operate safely in a post-COVID economy. The Fund will seek to distribute funds equitably across the state.
“We need to leverage the full strength and capacity of public-private partnerships to help the small business sector rebound and preserve the vital jobs they provide,” said Bill Daley, Vice Chairman of Public Affairs for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is pleased to further extend its support to small business recovery through the California Rebuilding Fund, which will unlock new capital and expertise for small business owners, and we hope will help catalyze support for this important initiative in the state.”
The California Small Enterprise (CASE) Task Force, a collaborative of individuals and organizations across industries and sectors, is leading the development and implementation of the Fund, which is being arranged by Calvert Impact Capital and will be administered by Kiva Capital Management. The Task Force is comprised of leaders from the community development sector, national and state-based nonprofit organizations, philanthropic donors and investors, attorneys and others.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis for small businesses that requires a concerted and collaborative effort to overcome. The California Rebuilding Fund is the kind of innovative effort we need to help small businesses retool, rebuild, and reopen,” said Laura Tyson, Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School at the UC, Berkeley Haas School of Business, who is Co-Chair of Governor Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisers, has been serving on the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery and has been working on the design and development of the Fund with Professor Adair Morse and UC Berkeley’s Sustainable and Impact Finance initiative. “This is a smart way to leverage private and public resources for maximum impact where it is most needed.”
All interested small business owners can apply for a loan at www.CALoanFund.org, which will collect standard information about their business and match them with a community lender. If matched, the lender will assist the business owners with the application and provide free advisory support alongside a network of business support organizations organized by the California Association of Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), Small Business Majority, California’s Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers. The portal began accepting applications on Friday, Nov. 20 and can be accessed through the fund’s website.
The California Rebuilding Fund is just one of the tools available to support small businesses as they work to safely reopen and recover from this public health crisis.
The California Rebuilding Fund is funded with support from IBank and initial private funders including Wells Fargo, First Republic Bank, the Grove Foundation, Kapor Center, the Panta Rhea Foundation and generous individual donors. Community Reinvestment Fund’s Connect2Capital platform is hosting applications at www.CALoanFund.org.