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Carolina Small Business Wins Small Business Leader Award from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Surdna Foundation & Opportunity Finance Network

October 26, 2016 / Janice Rojas / Company News, News, Press Releases

Recognized for transformative financing strategies in disinvested communities

ATLANTA (October 26, 2016) – Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) today announced that Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) is a recipient of the Small Business Leader Award (SBLA) for their transformative and innovative growth strategies. CSBDF is one of four Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) receiving this national award. These lenders play a critical role in financing small businesses in low-income, low-wealth, or historically disinvested communities that lack access to traditional capital.

CSBDF is recognized for developing a range of products, underwriting approaches, and technical assistance programs designed to most effectively reach entrepreneurs of color and women borrowers. CSBDF also transformed its business model to become a lender with an emphasis on reaching underserved small business borrowers.

“We are pleased to be a recipient of the Small Business Leader Award. Helping small businesses is our passion and our intent is and has always been to continue to elevate our services to help underserved communities and entrepreneurs scale their business,” said Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President/CEO of CSBDF. “We strive to help entrepreneurs overcome barriers in accessing capital by providing programs specifically designed to help communities overcome these challenges and build a stronger economy.”

The SBLA, now in its third year, recognizes and rewards excellence from the highly selective Small Business Finance Collaborative, a group of small business lenders who have worked together over the past two years to develop and implement ambitious growth plans for small business lending. The recipients were announced during OFN’s annual Conference in Atlanta.

“Helping small businesses thrive is an important objective of our 10,000 Small Businesses program, and we are proud to recognize lenders that share in that mission,” said Esta E. Stecher, Chair of the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. “Each of this year’s winning CDFIs is going above and beyond to provide capital to small businesses that may have difficulty accessing funding to spur grow and create jobs.”

“This year’s recipients have created important models to lead the CDFI industry to reach more underserved small business borrowers,” said Shawn Escoffery, Program Director, Strong Local Economies at Surdna Foundation. “Their innovative strategies lay the groundwork for job growth and economic opportunity in communities of color and other historically disinvested communities.”

“We are honored to recognize these four lenders for their dedication to evolving their business models to meet new market challenges and the needs of their communities. They were part of a cohort of 24 mission-driven lenders in the Small Business Finance Collaborative who grew and learned from each other, and they have continued to create opportunity and momentum in the small business space,” said Francis A. Lutz, interim CEO at OFN. “They are proving that providing responsible capital can be a successful business model for all lenders.”

To learn more about the Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders, visit


About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million investment to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services. The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital, and support services best addresses barriers to growth. For more information, visit

About the Surdna Foundation
The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. For over five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity. For more information, visit

About OFN
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the leading national network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2015 OFN’s network originated $48 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native American communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,044,000 jobs, start or expand nearly 191,000 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of nearly 1.5 million housing units and 9,800 community facility projects. For more information, visit

About Carolina Small Business Development Fund
Carolina Small Business Development Fund provides small business loans and business services to start-ups and existing businesses in North Carolina. As a statewide nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Carolina Small Business is passionate about supporting small businesses in underserved areas. Since 2010, Carolina Small Business has invested more than $32 million through 449 loans to small businesses across North Carolina helping to create or retain more than 1,018 jobs. For more information, visit


Media Contact:
Janice Rojas
Office: 919.803.1437 ext. 232
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