During National Black Business Month, Regions Bank is highlighting Black entrepreneurs and organizations like Grameen America who are helping small-business owners build long-term success.
Dr. Cortesha Cowan runs an Atlanta nonprofit, Mothers Helping Mothers, which provides assistance to teenage mothers and their babies. She says that for her and her organization, technical assistance and peer support are just as important as business capital.
She found that help from Grameen America.
“I’m excited about working with Grameen America and being able to connect with other women entrepreneurs and take advantage of their ‘lunch and learns’ and other programs to help me grow my business,” Cowan said.
Grameen America recently announced that it’s extending service to the Atlanta area, thanks in part to a $1 million commitment from Regions Bank, to provide additional support for Black women and other minority women entrepreneurs.
The highly anticipated announcement was celebrated with a community event held at the Russell Innovation Center for Entrepreneurs in Atlanta. Regions executives joined in the festivities, along with leaders from Grameen America, other funders – including Robert F. Smith, founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners – local community leaders and Atlanta-area Grameen America members.
In the past year, Grameen America has disbursed more than $420,000 in affordable capital to financially underserved women of color living in the Atlanta metro area and surrounding communities.
Extending their reach to Atlanta is just the latest effort in Grameen America’s greater mission to provide low-income women business owners with loan capital, financial education, asset- and credit-building, and peer support. Since 2008, Grameen America has reached more than 170,000 women living in underserved communities across the United States and has invested more than $3 billion in capital to emerging entrepreneurs.
The organization’s mission and focus align with Regions’ community engagement strategy on many levels, and a collaboration with Grameen America is a natural fit for the bank, according to Leroy Abrahams, head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank.
“Our investment in Grameen America is about more than investing in affordable capital; it’s about investing in local business owners and their long-term success,” Abrahams said. “This creates tremendous benefits not only for entrepreneurs, but also for the entire region as more people are empowered to take part in Atlanta’s economic growth.”
“Creating more inclusive prosperity is the cornerstone of our community engagement strategy at Regions Bank, and we are proud to support Grameen America’s innovative approach to connecting more women of color with vital resources, including loan capital, financial wellness and more.”
Another Atlanta business owner attending the event, Ana Gonzalez, said the Grameen America support allowed her to expand her inventory of wedding dresses and prom dresses. In turn, helping her grow her retail business.
Atlanta, which is a key market for Regions Bank and one the bank continues to invest in, is the 25th U.S. city where Grameen America has set up operations.
Creating more inclusive prosperity is the cornerstone of our community engagement strategy at Regions Bank, and we are proud to support Grameen America’s innovative approach to connecting more women of color with vital resources, including loan capital, financial wellness and more.
Leroy Abrahams, head of Community Affairs for Regions Bank
“Atlanta has long been a leading hub for entrepreneurship and growth, and a city with a clear need for access to affordable capital and financial services among women and especially Black women,” said Andrea Jung, President and CEO of Grameen America.
“We’re proud to bring a variety of funding and technical assistance partners together to help connect women of color with financial services while positively impacting and sustaining their local communities.”
Helping to fund the Atlanta program is very important, but it’s only one component of the bank’s unique relationship with Grameen America.
Regions has agreed to purchase eligible loans generated in Atlanta, as well as other major metropolitan areas in the bank’s 15- state footprint. This will free up capital for Grameen America and allow the organization to serve even more small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Regions Bank has also agreed to provide a $2 million investment that will support expansion of Grameen America’s national micro loan program.
“This three-pronged approach to our financial support is a unique tactic for us,” Abrahams said. “We wanted to be thoughtful and intentional about this investment so that we can help create as much opportunity as possible with our efforts. This community partnership with Grameen America has great potential to have real, measurable impact – to the business owners who are directly benefitting and also to our communities and local economies.”
As part of Regions’ commemoration of National Black Business Month, use the following links to learn more about how the bank and the Regions Foundation support minority-owned businesses.