Small businesses in California that can’t access capital through traditional lenders  have another option. Opportunity Fund  is an organization that provides microloans to small businesses.  Since it was founded in 1994, the organization has loaned more than $164 million to more than 5,500 businesses.
And in its 2016 fiscal year, Opportunity Fund provided over $60 million in loans, with a special focus on helping minority owned businesses, though that is not a requirement to obtain funding.
Small Business Opportunity Fund Loans
Anna Suarez, Small Business Marketing Director for Opportunity Fund said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “Opportunity Fund’s philosophy is that small amounts of money and financial advice can help people make permanent and lasting change in their own lives, driving economic mobility and building stronger communities.”
David Anderson is one entrepreneur who has taken advantage of Opportunity Fund’s microloans. Anderson is the owner of Sage & Company, a business that sells household items like mops  and cleaning equipment at events.
Anderson said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “When the recession hit, everything changed. The distribution channels like home shows where I sold products wouldn’t bring in as many people, but costs remained high. So it was difficult to keep up with inventory and other costs.”
So when Anderson heard about Opportunity Fund, he applied for a small loan and used it to build up his inventory so that he could have a more reliable supply of products.
Anderson also appreciated the ability to access a small amount of money. In the past, when he had tried to work with larger financial institutions, he said he actually had a more difficult time securing a small loan from banks that normally work in larger amounts. Opportunity Fund’s median loan size is $18,000.
And for some small businesses, securing any amount of money from traditional banks or lending institutions can be difficult or even impossible. But to work with Opportunity Fund, businesses just need to be located in California and be in business for at least a year with credit that is currently on time. Even if you have past credit issues or no credit history, Opportunity Fund will consider your loan.
Suarez says, “Most Opportunity Fund borrowers are unable to obtain funding from traditional financial institutions, so they seek an Opportunity Fund loan due to our specialization in affordable and responsible small business microloans and our understanding of their circumstances from having worked with thousands of similar borrowers.”
Image: Anderson with a customer at a home show