VEDC Receives $2.5 Million from Wells Fargo to Support Diverse Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Valley Economic Development Center, also known as VEDC, is one of 12 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to receive funds from the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital program. Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) recently announced it is providing $11.2 million in lending capital and grants in round two of the three-year program. Located in Sherman Oaks, CA, VEDC will receive $250,000 in grant funds and $2.25 million in lending capital. The six-round Diverse Community Capital (DCC) program will provide a total of $75 million in lending and grant capital over three years to CDFIs that support diverse-owned small businesses. To date, this program has distributed more than $38 million to 30 CDFIs.

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The $2.25 million will allow VEDC to expand their African American Small Business Loan Program outside of the Greater Los Angeles area to include all of Southern California. Many African-American small business owners have faced systemic challenges to securing loans from traditional sources. The VEDC program also offers training and free business consultations to address the specific needs of the African American entrepreneur wishing to start or expand their business.

VEDC anticipates a total of 450 entrepreneurs and small business owners will receive technical assistance through this program expansion and include 50 loan recommendations. Through this program, 20 new businesses will be created, 50 new jobs will be generated and 100 existing jobs will be retained.

“Small businesses create economic opportunities that extend well beyond the business owner by providing job opportunities and commercial growth in their communities,” said Robert Lopez, chief operating officer for VEDC. “Wells Fargo and VEDC have a strong history of supporting small business owners and we look forward to continuing our partnership by helping entrepreneurs start and build their businesses.”

Making a Difference: Concessionaire Expanding in California Airports

Palazzo Concessions was founded in 2008 by Simeon Stewart II as a certified Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise in the City of Los Angeles. When Simeon received his first contract with LAX he couldn’t qualify for traditional financing due to the startup nature of the business. He had been coming to VEDC for technical assistance and one-on-one business consultations regarding the unique financing and licensing requirements of an airport concession.

“VEDC looked at our forecast financials and took a chance. I’m proud to say that we have not missed a payment, have never been late and are almost paid off,” stated Palazzo Concessions owner, Simeon Stewart II. “We have now grown from one contract to 19 locations in three airports in California. We couldn’t have done this without the help of VEDC.”

“Our relationship with VEDC goes back 30 plus years and throughout that time, it’s been exciting to see the impact of our work together – because of this work more small businesses are thriving across Los Angeles,” said David DiCristofaro, lead region president of Wells Fargo in Greater Los Angeles. “We need small businesses to succeed financially, grow and add jobs for our communities to prosper and we want to make every responsible loan we possibly can to help creditworthy small businesses.”

The 12 organizations selected for round two were chosen from among 98 that indicated interest. Wells Fargo will distribute a total of $8.17 million in lending capital and $3.075 million in grants to the selected CDFIs. The DCC program launched in November 2015 by providing $4.45 million in loan and grant funds to three CDFIs and encouraging others to submit interest forms for the program’s first official round. More than 100 CDFIs responded, and Wells Fargo distributed a total of $5.67 million in grants and $16.67 million in lending capital to the 15 CDFIs selected in round one.

Application Window Open for DCC Round Three

Wells Fargo opened the window for interest forms for the third round of its Diverse Community Capital program on November 1st and will accept the forms until December 1st. CDFIs can visit to learn more about the program’s guidelines and to access the link to the online interest form. Available support from the program includes the following:

Grant Capital. Available to CDFIs to build their financial, operational, and human capacity to serve diverse small businesses.

Debt Capital. Available to CDFIs to build their lending capital to serve diverse small businesses. Financing will include senior debt and subordinated debt.

Social Capital. Offers CDFIs support by focusing on activities including mentorship, peer learning, marketing/outreach, underwriting and guidance on tailored products. The Social Capital component of the program is offered through Opportunity Finance Network.

About VEDC
VEDC is a leading non-profit small business lender that has a 40 year history of changing the way small business lending is done by making it more available and impactful. With a growing footprint, VEDC has lent $400 million in direct and guaranteed loans to over 108,000 small businesses to create and retain more than 200,600 new jobs. VEDC’s mission, as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is to help create jobs and promote small business development in under-served communities. The organization provides loans and micro-financing options to small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities, that don’t qualify for traditional financing. VEDC’s expanding portfolio is composed of community-based loan funds in California, Illinois, Nevada, Utah, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida and New York. Learn more about VEDC services by visiting

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 269,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

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