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.
Sam’s Club and Sam’s Club Giving continue to address the unmet needs of small business owners—especially women, minorities and veterans—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, Sam’s Club and Sam’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 initiative’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.
Sam’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. Sam’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, Sam’s Club and Sam’s Club Giving are uniquely positioned to help small business owners access affordable capital.
“Sam’s Club has a long history of helping small businesses get access to big business savings, save money and grow their businesses—that’s the reason our founder Sam Walton started Sam’s Club,” according to Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart’s chief sustainability officer and president of The Walmart Foundation. “When small businesses succeed, economic growth and job creation follow, which is why Sam’s Club and Sam’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.”
The first round of Small Business Economic Mobility initiative grants made in 2015 are already having a positive impact. Sam’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. “With the grant from Sam’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,” explains Mark Pinsky, OFN’s president and CEO.