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Carolina Small Business Dev. Fund Receives Award from The Annie E. Casey Foundation to Support Underserved Small Businesses in North Carolina

January 11, 2018 / Janice Rojas / Press Releases

Carolina Small Business Development Fund Receives Award from The Annie E. Casey Foundation to Support Underserved Small Businesses in North Carolina

Casey Foundation recipients are Shaw University and Carolina Small Business Development Fund

(RALEIGH, NC) – Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) receives $2 million in loan funds from the Casey Foundation and $50,000 in grant funds to support its Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center (IEC), in partnership with Shaw University.

For more than 27 years, CSBDF has provided financial services, including technical assistance, in support of economic development.  In 2010, CSBDF launched its direct small business lending program, which has since then funded 594 small business loans, totaling $43.4 million, which have in turn helped create over 1,991 jobs in North Carolina.

CSBDF’s mission of fostering economic development is aligned with the Casey Foundation’s priority of increasing economic opportunity and inclusion and building stronger communities. The $2 million investment from the Casey Foundation directly supports small businesses in North Carolina by allowing CSBDF to expand access to capital to entrepreneurs in underserved markets. These funds allow CSBDF to help fill the lending gap left by major banks that have tightened lending criteria and pulled out of many underserved communities across the state.

“We are grateful and excited that the Annie E. Casey Foundation recognizes our efforts in small business lending and community development in North Carolina and the impactful work of our Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center. These funds will allow us to grow our small business lending program and expand access to capital in underserved sectors and communities,” said Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President/CEO of Carolina Small Business Development Fund.

The Casey Foundation has also invested in the IEC, a partnership between CSBDF and Shaw University launched in 2017. The IEC provides interventions for underfinanced entrepreneurs and communities in Southeast Raleigh to foster greater inclusion within the local small business ecosystem.

“The Carolina Small Business Development Fund has a strong track record of financing small businesses of color and providing guidance to ensure they not only survive but thrive,” said James Wahls, a senior investment analyst at the Casey Foundation. “CSBDF’s innovative partnership with Shaw University to form the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center will support and bolster more local enterprises that create jobs and increase opportunity— particularly for individuals and families of color.”

“The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center is a vital resource for the next generation of entrepreneurs at Shaw University. Through our partnership with the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, we have been able to create opportunities for our students that will allow them to build companies right here in Southeast Raleigh. We are grateful that the Annie E. Casey Foundation recognizes that potential and has made this investment in our young people,” said Dr. Dillard, Interim President of Shaw University.

The partnership of Shaw, a historically black university and community anchor institution, with CSBDF, a community development financial institution, offers an opportunity to formalize community engagement strategies, provide strong technical assistance, and increase pathways to financial capital. The $50,000 in grant funds from Foundation will allow it to expand its current offerings, leverage new funding partnerships and work with more clients.

“It has been an amazing experience to witness the volunteer and business community support we have received to demonstrate the Most Viable Products of the IEC. Financial contributions from the Annie E. Casey Foundation will allow us to further expand our programming and impact across the small business community, as well as foster our student and alumni entrepreneurial talent,” said Talib Graves-Manns, Executive Director of the IEC.

For more information, visit or contact Janice Rojas at 919.928.5101.

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About Carolina Small Business Development Fund

Carolina Small Business Development Fund’s mission is to foster economic development in underserved communities by providing capital, business services, and policy research to support small businesses. Since 2010, Carolina Small Business has invested more than $43.4 million through 594 loans to small businesses across North Carolina helping to create or retain more than 1,991 jobs.

About Shaw University

Shaw University, located in North Carolina’s vibrant Downtown Raleigh, is the first historically black institution of higher education in the Southern United States. Founded in 1865 by Dr. Henry Martin Tupper, Shaw is proud to be educating more than 1,800 students who will become the change agents of tomorrow. Our motto is “This is E.P.I.C,” as we are committed to advancing our mission with Entrepreneurial Thinking, Positioning and Presence, Innovation, and Customer Care. Learn more at