Amidst the thriving entrepreneurial landscape of California, a new financial force has emerged, designed to help small businesses overcome the typical hurdles associated with obtaining financing. This force is known as TMC Community Capital,. They focus on approving loans and offering support to small businesses, especially those owned by women, operating in lower-income brackets, and hailing from underserved communities. This innovative approach is a significant departure from traditional lending practices and has earned TMC Community Capital CDFI-approved organization status, along with funding from major entities like Capital One, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo. According to CEO Daniel Fernandez, “Innovation and community are at the heart of everything we do. We don’t just build services for the community, but with the community.”
Changing Traditional Lending Approaches
TMC Community Capital operates differently than other traditional financial institutions, who usually base their lending decisions on credit scores and collateral. TMC Community Capital takes a more innovative approach, focusing on the individual, the business, and the broader community. Their underwriting process is community-based and inclusive, providing resources and capital previously unavailable to many of these entrepreneurs. Because of its unique approach, TMC Community Capital is a CDFI-approved organization.
CDFI’s Role in Overcoming Economic Divides
TMC Community Capital’s status as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) gives it the ability to think beyond traditional lending approaches. CDFIs exist to provide affordable credit, capital, and financial services to low-income and underserved communities. Their mission, however, includes promoting job creation, economic development, and community revitalization in areas that traditional financial services have left behind.
CDFIs were established to address the unavailability of accessible capital and financial services in underserved communities. Traditional lenders often avoid loaning money to low-income individuals and small businesses, citing their perceived lack of creditworthiness or collateral. This hesitance has left many communities struggling with significant challenges like high unemployment and poverty. CDFIs like TMC Community Capital are trying to change that narrative.
Pioneering Accessible Lending
Conventional lenders have left many individuals with minimal credit history or assets stranded in a sea of financial uncertainty. These individuals often fall prey to high-cost, predatory lenders, whose hidden fees can cause crushing debt. TMC Community Capital’s mission is to redefine access to capital. They offer affordable loans ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, aimed at women-owned, low-income, and under-resourced small businesses, and their underwriting is community-based and inclusive. Additionally, the accessible online platform is optimized for mobile use and available in multiple languages, opening up new horizons for underserved communities. TMC Community Capital is committed to assisting entrepreneurs in establishing a credit history, maintaining affordable costs, and educating them about financing options.
TMC Community Capital aims to give every entrepreneur equal access to capital and opportunities, regardless of their background or circumstances. According to Fernandez, “Through our innovative lending initiatives, we are breaking down financial barriers, fueling innovation, and creating a dynamic business landscape that is inclusive and vibrant. Our team is committed to fostering economic growth, uplifting underserved communities, and catalyzing the success of small businesses. Together, we are building a future where dreams can thrive, and possibilities are limitless.”
One Business, One Entrepreneur at a Time
TMC Community Capital is a California-based organization that has made significant strides, providing over $2.1 million in loans to 62 small businesses in 18 counties in the last year alone. They primarily serve BIPOC (94%), with over half (54%) being women-owned, and a vast majority (85%) falling within the low to moderate-income category. The businesses they support vary in maturity, revenue, and size, but all share an entrepreneurial spirit fueled by TMC’s financial support.
TMC Community Capital has had many success stories, including Todo Verde, a plant-based Mexican food business owned by Jocelyn Ramirez, and Full Belly Bakery, a black-women owned enterprise started by trained pastry chef Eva. Both businesses have received $50,000 from TMC Community Capital, allowing Todo Verde to produce inventory for online sales and local stores, and Full Belly Bakery to purchase equipment and move into a retail location for expansion.
TMC Community Capital is more than just funding a business with each loan, they empower entrepreneurs, spark community revitalization, and pioneer a new era of lending. As the organization continues to grow and serve, we can expect to see continued transformation in California’s underserved communities and a reshaped financial landscape.