In 1994 Accion was a pioneer in the nonprofit lending world. With a mission to bring financial inclusion to business owners struggling to access capital, we started in the Pilsen and Little Village neighborhoods of Chicago and, in our first year, made 66 loans totaling $270,000. Twenty years later, we have grown significantly and expanded our reach to all of Illinois and Northwest Indiana. Our 430 loans in 2013 disbursed $3.6 million to entrepreneurs throughout the region, and our staff provided business coaching to 2,639 clients. This year, our 20th Anniversary Year, we are on track to provide business support to 3,500 clients, and disburse 500 small business loans totaling $4 million. In turn, these loans will create or maintain an estimated 1,500 jobs that will generate $25 million in local payroll.

At Accion we believe that every person should have fair and equal access to the economic resources they need to achieve their full financial potential. That is why Accion is dedicated to providing financial tools, services, and support to entrepreneurs who lack access to affordable sources of credit.

Our clients are neighborhood businesses—like bakeries, dry cleaners, coffee shops, and transportation services—clients like Eleazar Delgado, owner of Café Jumping Bean. In 1994 Eleazar opened his restaurant in Pilsen with $8,000 in cash and credit cards. The café was a new concept for his neighborhood. “When we needed to buy more equipment, the banks wouldn’t touch us,” said Eleazar. “We were referred to Accion, and they loved what I was doing. The $5,000 Accion loan we received gave us a boost like you wouldn’t believe. I’d given up a lot to keep the place running and we wouldn’t have survived without it….We’ve grown from a walk-in café to a social hub and we support community events in every way possible. We have regulars who’ve been coming here for 20 years. We’ve created a tight-knit community and the neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without us.”

Our small loans help leverage big gains, generating local jobs and attracting more economic activity. By helping business owners like Eleazer, we strengthen the backbone of our community, creating jobs, allowing individuals to prosper, families to succeed, and neighborhoods to thrive.

Nothing is more important than the birth and growth of small businesses. Join us in revitalizing communities for decades to come.

Café Jumping Bean is located at 1439 W. 18th St. in Chicago, IL. For more information, find them on Facebook!

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