Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 18, 2021

$7.5M loan fund established for small, minority-led businesses

Pathway Lending president and CEO Clint Gwin announces a $7.5 million fund aimed at strengthening small and minority-led businesses in Chattanooga and Hamilton County. - Photograph provided

A collaborative effort is boosting Chattanooga’s profile as an entrepreneurship hub with a new $7.5 million loan fund. The Chattanooga Small Business Opportunity Fund aims to improve access to capital for small and minority-led businesses, particularly borrowers who might not qualify for a conventional bank business loan.

Pinnacle Financial Partners, First Horizon Bank and Regions Bank provided capital to establish the loan fund, along with grant support from The Benwood, Bobby Stone, Footprint and Lyndhurst Foundations, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and Pointer Management Co.

Pathway Lending will administer the fund from its new local office, located in the Edney Innovation Center.

Pathway Lending will begin deploying funds to approved borrowers in Chattanooga immediately with loans that range from $5,000 to $500,000 for working capital lines of credit, term loans for equipment and real estate, and microloans.

Pathway Lending will also develop targeted loan products in connection with JPMorgan Chase’s support.

“Supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs is key to unlocking the type of opportunity that lifts communities,” says Brandon Abney, vice president, commercial banking, JPMorgan Chase. “There’s a strong small business ecosystem in Chattanooga, and the Chattanooga Small Business Opportunity Fund will play a foundational role in developing long-term, inclusive growth in our region.”

With support from JPMorgan Chase, Pathway Lending, LAUNCH and the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga are working together to find ways to strengthen Chattanooga’s business ecosystem for its small and minority-led businesses.

To guide that work, Pathway Lending and ULGC will undertake research to identify existing minority-owned businesses prepared to scale, assess their capital and capacity needs, and uncover gaps in the ecosystem. They expect to complete and publish the research in late summer or early fall 2021.

The community partners will coordinate to offer a broad range of technical assistance to prepare minority entrepreneurs to navigate growth, access capital and adapt to working in a digital environment.

Pathway Lending clients will be able to access Pathway Learning, an online learning platform where they can receive coaching from a member of Pathway’s business advisory services team and access a catalog of programs offered by PathwayWBC and the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center at Pathway Lending.

To support the new loan fund and collaboration, Pathway Lending has established a local office and added two new hires to fill newly created roles.

Katie Hendrix is Pathway Lending’s new vice president of stakeholder and client development; Quentin Lawrence is the company’s new vice president of lending for Chattanooga.

Hendrix and Lawrence will work from the Edney Innovation Center, where Pathway Lending has located its new office.

Hendrix joins Pathway Lending from CO.LAB in Chattanooga. As CO.LAB’s chief of staff, she worked with entrepreneurs and investors to provide access to capital in the area.

Lawrence joins Pathway Lending from Hope for the Inner City, where he served as deputy executive director and relationship director for the local community and economic development nonprofit.

Entrepreneurs and small-business owners interested in learning more about application requirements and loan offerings may contact Lawrence at 615 732-7132 or quentin.lawrence@pathwaylending.org.

Source: Pathway Lending