With ARC support, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE) in Cleveland, Georgia, is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing access to capital and business advisory services to small business owners in a 15 county region of Northwest Georgia. When the COVID crisis hit in March, ACE quickly offered payment deferments to existing loan clients, launched an emergency loan product with up to 6 months of payment deferments, and facilitated $175,000 in Paycheck Protection Program loans to small businesses in Appalachian Georgia.
This support helped eight businesses — the majority of which were led by entrepreneurs of color — retain 29 jobs in the area. To further support businesses impacted by the COVID crisis, ACE provides technical assistance to small businesses in the form of webinars, workshops, and one-to-one counseling services for marketing, inventory control, employee relations and and other business operations. ACE has also established a peer-to-peer group for Spanish speaking small business owners to address COVID related challenges.