Entrepreneurs of Color Fund Launches in New Orleans with the Addition of two new CDFI Partners

Local CDFIs NewCorp, Inc and TruFund Financial Services, Inc. Announce Collaboration with National Initiative Aimed At Getting Capital To Minority Owned Businesses


An innovative impact investment fund is coming to NOLA to help ramp up local lending to minority business owners just ahead of Essence Festival’s return to New Orleans.


June 30, 2022, NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) NewCorp, Inc. and TruFund Financial Services, Inc. announce a new collaboration with the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOCF) aimed at expanding access to capital and other resources to minority owned businesses in the crescent city.


The EOCF is a program managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and largely supported by investment from JPMorgan Chase. The EOCF is designed to not only get much-needed capital directly into the hands of African American, Latinx, and other small business owners, but to also provide critical support such as coaching, operational guidance, and training. In addition, through a specialized loan fund, the EOCF also purchases participations in previously originated minority business loans from designated CDFI partners to free up capital for additional lending to entrepreneurs of color.


“The New Orleans Business Alliance has been engaged in partnership with these two CDFI’s since the 2019 launch of its InvestNOLA initiative, through which Newcorp and TruFund are directly responsible for deploying more than $12 million in capital to local business owners of color. NOLABA was thrilled to facilitate their access to the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund that will further increase the lending capacity of both CDFIs,” said Norman E. Barnum, IV, President & CEO of NOLABA.


“Creating a more equitable and inclusive economy is what this partnership is all about,” said Greg Rattler, a Market Leader for JPMorgan Chase in New Orleans. “Together, we will open doors of opportunity for black and brown business owners who can build wealth for their families and generations to come.”


The EOCF helps entrepreneurs of color start, sustain, and grow their businesses. Too often, African American and Latinx business run into obstacles raising money and struggle to secure loans or to come up with sufficient working capital to fund their ideas. They have been underrepresented among enterprises that grow using external financing (financing through household savings, social networks, or bank financing), and they have fewer opportunities to build businesses with a scale-based competitive advantage.


“The Entrepreneurs of Color Fund (EOCF) will nurture a diverse landscape of small businesses that reflect New Orleans’ rich culture and history,” said Steve Hall, Vice President with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. “The EOCF can help bridge capital gaps that constrain growth for minority owners and, in the process, support wealth-building for Black and Brown families, job creation throughout the city, and a more equitable local economy, where everyone has the chance to succeed."


“The EOCF provides innovative solutions that will create access to affordable capital for minority business owners,” said James H. Bason, President and CEO of TruFund Financial Services, Inc. “We strongly believe that access to capital is critical to growing resilient small businesses and sustaining vibrant communities. This partnership moves us beyond the power of one to the power of collaboration to foster inclusive economies and help close the racial wealth gap.”


The announcement of the EOCF comes as the Essence Festival returns to the city of New Orleans for the first time in two years, bringing millions of people to the city. Essence Festival’s historic focus on empowering people and businesses of color aligns with the EOCF’s commitment to helping break down systemic barriers that have historically limited the growth of minority businesses.


“NewCorp has afforded an opportunity for disadvantaged businesses to participate in the capital market for 25 years through non-traditional lending methods that are debt based; however, we have not been in a position to fund a significant amount of these businesses,” said Vaughn Fauria, President & CEO of NewCorp, Inc. “This collaboration between NewCorp, TruFund and LISC is an inspiring blend of purpose that will deliver on the promise to change the game for BIPOC businesses. The best collaborations create something bigger than the sum of what each person or organization can create on their own.”

Media Contact:

Kim Carter Evans, VP | Managing Director

TruFund Southeast Region

Phone: 646.385.6946

Email: corporatecommunications@trufund.org


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About LISC

LISC is one of the country’s largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances. For more information visit www.lisc.org


About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase has more than 2,000 employees in Louisiana and serves 1 million consumers and 89,000 businesses statewide. In February, Chase announced a collaborative of twelve local organizations will receive $5 million to make childcare a family-sustaining career. Led by Beloved Community, the organizations will foster Black and Latinx women-led childcare businesses that value Black and Latinx women as caregivers, entrepreneurs, employees and mothers. It was the second consecutive year that a New Orleans proposal has won the bank’s philanthropic competition, Advancing Cities. In 2020, JPMorgan Chase awarded $5 million to a collaborative led by NOLA Business Alliance to provide career pathways for people of color in the blue-green infrastructure industry.


About TruFund Financial Services, Inc.

TruFund Financial Services, Inc. is a wholly independent national non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). TruFund seeks to stimulate economic development in communities that traditional banking institutions underserve by providing fair and accessible capital, hands-on technical assistance, and innovative solutions to small businesses and non-profit organizations. For more information visit www.trufund.org


About NewCorp

For 25 years NewCorp, Inc., as a 501C3 nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), has proudly and ambitiously provided capital, counseling, technical assistance, and training to small-to-moderate, minority and women owned businesses that have difficulty accessing funds from traditional sources. As a CDFI lender, NewCorp continues to assemble a suite of products and services that support equity. In addition to NewCorp’s function as a CDFI, NewCorp established the 7th Ward Revitalization Project (7WRP) which is a holistic approach to pre-gentrification-focused neighborhood restoration. The 7WRP’s wealth-building and wellness focal areas are arts and culture, affordable housing, green infrastructure and urban agriculture, and community economic development. For more information visit www.newcorpinc.com


About the New Orleans Business Alliance

One of fewer than 70 Accredited Economic Development Organizations worldwide, the New Orleans Business Alliance is the official 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit economic development organization created as the partnership between the City of New Orleans and the business community to enhance the economic security of all New Orleanians by accelerating the diversification of the local economy, developing local talent and expanding entrepreneurial opportunity. By pursuing an inclusive economic development strategy, we will create the perfect intersection of culture and commerce resulting in more equitable opportunities and greater prosperity for all. Visit nolaba.org for more information.