published on September 22, 2020 - 11:30 AM
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Fresno Community Development Financial Institution received a $200,000 award to be used for micro-entrepreneur lending in the Central Valley.

The funding is part of $5.5 million awarded nationally for the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) to help nonprofit organizations assist low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand small businesses.

PRIME funding for this year was focused on so-called Opportunity Zones to bolster investment in economically disadvantaged areas.

“Capital is king for any aspiring or current entrepreneur, and the SBA is committed to providing critical funding to small businesses,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “Retaining jobs – and creating new ones – is essential this year, and we are proud to award this year’s PRIME grants to assist entrepreneurs with the necessary training to create thriving sustainable businesses.”

This year’s 30 recipients come from 19 states and the District of Columbia, and 23 of the recipients are in Opportunity Zones. President Trump signed legislation creating Opportunity Zones in 2017 to spur new capital investment in America’s economically distressed communities. Nearly 9,000 communities in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones.

The PRIME grants range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50% in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, more than 120 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2020.

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be made available on Sept. 30, and the project period for each grant is one year.

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