The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some surprising twists in the local economy. At a time when many companies have shut down, non-profit loan agency Access Plus Capital has seen an unexpected trend. Business Services Manager Pamela Mostert says, “It’s ironic because while there are a lot of businesses that closed, we’re seeing an extraordinary amount of startup businesses. People who either saw an opportunity or perhaps lost a job are now creating a new future for themselves.” The small business lender aims to help new and existing retailers to grow and thrive.
Pamela has seen an increase in new online retailers as well as health and wellness services in the Fresno area. However, the largest spike is in the food truck industry. “If you think about it, it’s an affordable way to open a restaurant. It’s about probably a third of the cost if you had to start a restaurant from scratch. And they build this phenomenal following on social media which can help to keep marketing costs low.”
Access Plus Capital is a mission based lender with a focus on underserved communities within Central California. Pamela says, “We provide resources and affordable capital to start, sustain or grow small business. We are building strong communities one business at a time.”
Of course, securing a loan to launch a new business is not easy if you have bad credit. Pamela explains, “I mean you need credit for everything. You can’t get a cell phone without credit. You can’t rent an apartment without credit. Some jobs require credit. So, it’s important to understand your credit score.”
Access Plus Capital recently started offering free credit workshops to help people better understand their financial situation and strengthen their credit score. Pamela points out, “Most of us don’t even know that magic number. You know, ‘How is it calculated? And what goes into that?’ So, the workshop is really informative about that.”
The one-hour credit workshops are offered virtually each month and they are open to everyone. The workshops are just one of many resources offered by Access Plus Capital, at no charge. Pamela says, “We provide customized loans as well as valuable resources to businesses. So, you know, information about credit, how to market your business, understanding bookkeeping and financials. That’s all part of what we do.”
Access Plus Capital is a subsidiary of Fresno EOC.
Access Plus Capital is a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). As a CDFI, it offers tailored resources and innovative programs that invest federal dollars alongside private sector capital. What is a CDFI? Click here for more information.