As part of its national strategy, VEDC, doing business as Aquaria Funds, will provide $85 million in new loan capital to 500 small businesses across the United States, contributing to the creation or retention of 1,700 jobs and 100 new businesses over the next three years while growing to be one of the largest not-for-profit national transitional small business lenders in the country.
VEDC will leverage its expertise, reputation, lending capacity, and existing network of partnerships to deploy such capital across four major regions of the country. The average loan amount will be between $175k - $225k, which for the average small business provides the capital needed to grow and ultimately create more jobs. This capital will be deployed through four offices in various parts of the country.
This commitment further expands the organization's mission in providing loan capital to small businesses onto a national platform, expanding its reach beyond its home state of California.
Action plan includes identifying motivated & committed funding sources of capital for the organization to access, leveraging (grant) capital to support such funds, identifying areas of need, building collaborative local partnerships, and implementing sustainable loan programs for entrepreneurs.
Steps towards achieving this commitment have commenced now. VEDC expects to fulfill their commitment by the end of the 2016 calendar year. Benchmarks will be evaluated at end of each calendar year and will be tracked internally on a quarterly basis, at minimum. VEDC expects to achieve the following milestones at the end of each of the following years (in the aggregate):
2013 - $6.2MM in loans to 35 small businesses, 124 jobs created/retained, and creation of 7 new businesses.
2014 - $27.5MM in loans to 157 small businesses, 549 jobs created/retained, and creation of 31 new businesses.
2015 - $54MM in loans to 308 small businesses, 1,079 jobs created/retained, and creation of 62 new businesses.
2016 - $85MM in loans to 500 small businesses, 1,702 jobs created/retained, and creation of 100 new businesses.
Access to loan capital through traditional sources has significantly declined for small businesses, in particular, over the past five years. This has contributed to increased unemployment, increased business closures, and low morale within the entrepreneurial community; ultimately leading to the deterioration of many communities across the U.S. Mainstream traditional sources of capital such as banks are still experiencing the effects of loan losses and increased scrutiny from regulators. These factors have all contributed to the challenges entrepreneurs face in obtaining loans to grow, or simply sustain their business.
VEDC seeks funding partners who have the ability to provide loan capital on a limited or non-recourse basis. They are also seeking grant funding from various sources that can help support start-up costs and or loan loss reserves to support operations. Finally, VEDC seeks local partnerships that can or already provide technical assistance support as a complimentary service to the small businesses they serve.
VEDC offers expertise as a transitional not-for-profit small business lender including, but not limited to, credit underwriting, fund management, loan origination, servicing, collections, etc