Colorado Enterprise Fund breaks barriers of access to capital for small businesses

Community development investing |

Praxis celebrates women-owned businesses in Colorado

Logo - Colorado Enterprise fund lending with impact
Colorado Enterprise Fund is a nonprofit community development financial institution whose mission is to accelerate prosperity in disadvantaged communities by providing loans and business coaching to low-income entrepreneurs, underserved small businesses, and nonprofits that are unable to secure conventional bank financing.

CEF provides capital where banks cannot lend and gap financing when banks' lending offers come up short. Throughout CEF's history, it has raised and deployed more than $123 million in capital. Its high-impact investments in over 3,600 new and existing businesses have created jobs and delivered critical goods and services to serve Colorado’s disadvantaged communities. CEF’s loans have helped create or retain over 27,600 jobs, with nearly 80% of the loans supporting low-income, women and minority entrepreneurs across Colorado.

Impact story

Male construction worker standing near a backhoe inspecting a digging project in the street
Marisa Beaver started Sewer Experts, a demolition, excavation, sewer and water company in 2019 – a tumultuous year for small businesses because of the COVID 19 pandemic. Though the business started out strong and with a backlog of contracts, payments were slow to come in and Marisa struggled with having the cash flow to sustain the company. She was referred to CEF and got a business loan to put her business on good ground.

In addition to her first loan, Marisa also received two Paycheck Protection Program loans through CEF. "Because of them, I was able to start another company and hire four people during the pandemic," she explains. With the faith of a mustard seed, Marisa continues to defy the odds in this male-dominated industry.

Sewer Experts recently landed an on-call Denver Housing Authority contract and was also featured on the cover of a national magazine, Dig Different. Marisa tells of an accomplishment even more important to her though, stating, "the biggest win is we are able to provide for ten employees and their families and I am so blessed to be able to help do that."

The Praxis commitment
Praxis Mutual Funds supports organizations such as the Colorado Enterprise Fund through investments in Calvert Impact, an impact-investing institution that helps people around the world through community development financing. It’s part of the Praxis commitment to place approximately 1% of each of its funds to benefit neighborhoods and individuals through community development investments.

Stella Tai, Stewardship Investing Impact and Analysis Manager | Praxis Mutual Funds
Author Stella Tai
Stewardship Investing Impact and Analysis Manager

Community Development Investing

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