Community Improvement, Capacity Building

Carolina Small Business Development Fund

We are Dreamcatchers

aka Carolina Small Business Development Fund   |   Raleigh, NC   |  carolinasmallbusiness.org

Mission

Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) works to promote community and economic development throughout North Carolina. Our work is inspired and driven by those we serve: aspiring and existing small business owners. By helping entrepreneurs reach their business ownership dreams, we seek to grow and support the engine of local economic growth. CSBDF’s model of operations has three prongs: affordable financing, comprehensive technical assistance, and evidence-based policy research. We offer an accessible pathway for small business success.

Ruling year info

1990

President and CEO

Mr. Kevin Dick

Main address

3128 Highwoods Blvd. Suite 170

Raleigh, NC 27604 USA

Show more addresses

Formerly known as

The NC Minority Support Center

EIN

58-1903219

Cause area (NTEE code) info

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

Research Institutes and/or Public Policy Analysis (S05)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Small business growth is a foundational strategy for effective community economic development. New and expanding small businesses are the primary fuel for private sector job creation. Regions with robust small business communities enjoy positive economic outcomes like higher productivity growth, higher gross state product growth, lower wage inflation, and lower unemployment. Communities with large numbers of small businesses are strongly associated with future job growth when compared to communities with less firm size diversity. The support of Main Street businesses is critical because business ownership is fraught with challenges including lack of capital access, poor or non-existent entrepreneurial network support, and a lack of comprehensive technical assistance options. Entrepreneurs face many barriers to success, especially those from underserved communities (rural, disaster-impacted) and demographics (minorities, veterans, women).

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Small Business Lending

CSBDF has issued small and medium-sized business loans since 2010. Our lending activities help expand capital access for current and aspiring business owners throughout the region. Loan proceeds can be used for leasehold improvements, real estate, working capital, equipment purchases, machinery, and inventory. While loans are generally available for needs between $5,000 and $250,000, lower and higher capital levels are available on a case-by-case basis. Capital is deployed primarily through fixed-rate term loans. CSBDF’s goal is to provide affordable financing that helps generate economic growth which would not otherwise occur. Lending products are designed to ensure clients can adequately finance their ventures in a sustainable manner. Loans are available to all qualified borrowers, including startups, across most industries. CSBDF also provides special assistance to populations that can face structural barriers to small business success. Veterans, African Americans, disaster-impacted firms, and women entrepreneurs are eligible for benefits like preferred interest rates or loans with no equity requirements.

Population(s) Served
Minorities
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

The Business Solutions division focuses on managing relationships with CSBDF’s current lending clients by providing them holistic and customized assistance services. This is done primarily through periodic check-ins with CSBDF beneficiaries to identify knowledge gaps and create a plan to help fulfill short and long-term goals. The team also provides guidance and mentoring to aspiring small business owners who have a need to access capital. Services offered include assistance with loan documentation, financial projections, guidance on seeking public contracts, credit building/repair, risk mitigation, resolving cash flow issues, accounting and bookkeeping, patenting and trademark processes, and marketing. As a community economic development organization, we want to ensure our lending clients have all the tools they need to succeed. If not done appropriately, small business loans can create adverse outcomes. Our Business Solutions staff proactively engage with beneficiaries to ensure that, as their business needs change, they can remain financially sustainable. In the case of growing businesses, this can include providing additional financing or referring clients to other lending partners.

Population(s) Served
Veterans
Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people

CSBDF contributes to scholarly and practitioner dialogues on issues surrounding community economic development. Our work in this area is designed to provide relevant, accessible, and politically neutral analyses for evidence-based policy recommendations. CSBDF’s research program publishes analyses and reports on three main themes. First, we produce research which outlines how small business is fundamental to the growth of regional economies. Second, we highlight the unique challenges that underserved demographics and geographies often face. Finally, our publications encourage practitioners and policymakers to move towards outcome-based framework for program evaluation.

Population(s) Served
Academics
General/Unspecified

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Candler, North Carolina, the WWBC's mission is to reduce barriers to small business success and serve as a regional catalyst for entrepreneurship. The Center offers one-on-one business coaching, extensive workshop programming, and a variety of networking events for local small firm owners. Although it focuses on assisting women-owned firms and aspiring women entrepreneurs, programming also targets veterans and other high need populations. The WWBC is certified as a Women's Business Center by the Small Business Administration.

Population(s) Served
Females
Veterans

Women entrepreneurs in North Carolina’s northeastern region often face enduring barriers to small business success. The EWEC, located on the campus of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) since 2017, was founded to help foster a sense of entrepreneurship among women small business owners and other underserved individuals in the area. The EWEC acts as a comprehensive resource for those who need technical or financial assistance to start or grow a business.

Population(s) Served
Females
Students

Like other underserved populations, Latino entrepreneurs face many barriers to starting and growing their small businesses. But the set of cultural and language barriers that often confront this population requires a unique and holistic solution. The Latino program fulfills this need through the use of bilingual and bicultural staff that can provide comprehensive counseling and pathways to secure financing.

Population(s) Served
People of Latin American descent

After leaving military service, many veterans want to start their own business. But the veteran population often faces significant challenges to small business success. Access to affordable financing and a lack of knowledge about small firm management practices has led to low rates of entrepreneurship in this population. CSBDF has prioritized engagement with this community through the provision veteran-specific technical assistance and access to specialized lending products. To better highlight the needs of veterans at the national level, CSBDF is a member of a multi-state community organization collaborative which works to promote veteran business ownership. The initiative, called the Veteran LLC Collaborative, is modeled on best practices related to the use of social networks for community development.

Population(s) Served
Veterans

Where we work

Accreditations

AERIS Rating (Updated Annually) 2013

Community Development Financial Institution 2020

Small Business Administration Community Advantage Lender (2012 - Present) 2012

Opportunity Finance Network Member 2012

Community Advantage Lender of the Year 2015

Number of research or policy analysis products developed, e.g., reports, briefs

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

General/Unspecified

Related Program

Research and Policy Analysis

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This includes peer-reviewed articles, scholarly conference papers, full-length research reports, research/briefs spotlights, and research blogs.

Number of jobs created and maintained

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Minorities,Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Veterans

Related Program

Small Business Lending

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Each lending client is asked to report how many jobs CSBDF's loans have helped them create and retain. Expressed as FTEs by fiscal year. Data updated based on survey followups of actual employment.

Total dollars loaned to businesses

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Minorities,Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Veterans

Related Program

Small Business Lending

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Total amount of loans issued by dollar value, by fiscal year.

Net promoter score

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Minorities,Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Veterans

Related Program

Small Business Lending

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Based on surveys of clients that have received lending assistance from CSBDF. The metric reported is the percentage of promoters.

Number of loans issued

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Females,Economically disadvantaged, low-income, and poor people,Veterans

Related Program

Small Business Lending

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Total number of loans issued by fiscal year. Recent trends are due to a shift in providing larger loan amounts.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Charting impact

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

For over 3 decades, CSBDF has worked to promote community and economic development throughout North Carolina and the surrounding regions. By helping entrepreneurs reach their business ownership dreams, we seek to grow and support an engine of local economic growth. CSBDF’s model of operations has three prongs: (1) affordable financing, (2) comprehensive technical assistance, and (3) evidence-based policy research. • Affordable financing: CSBDF has issued small and medium-sized business loans since 2010. Our lending activities help expand capital access for current and aspiring business owners throughout the region. Loan proceeds can be used for leasehold improvements, real estate, working capital, equipment purchases, machinery, and inventory. While loans are generally available for needs between $5,000 and $250,000, lower and higher capital levels are available on a case-by-case basis. Capital is deployed primarily through fixed-rate term loans. CSBDF’s goal is to provide affordable financing that helps generate economic growth which would not otherwise occur. Lending products are designed to ensure clients can adequately finance their ventures in a sustainable manner. Loans are available to all qualified borrowers, including startups, across most industries. CSBDF also provides special assistance to populations that face structural barriers to small business success. Veterans, African Americans, disaster-impacted firms, and women entrepreneurs may be eligible for benefits like preferred interest rates or loans with no equity requirements. • Comprehensive business solutions: Creating a vibrant small business community starts and ends with relevant and individualized technical assistance. New and expanding small business often face challenges related to credit worthiness, insufficient equity, lack of collateral, and gaps in business skills. Free training is available to help address all these needs via both in-person, group, and online formats. Our Business Solutions team is holistic and proactive in its assistance approach. For example, in the wake of natural disasters, staff offer training on disaster recovery and resiliency topics. As client needs change, CSBDF adapts its curriculum. • Rigorous policy research: CSBDF contributes to scholarly and practitioner dialogues on issues surrounding community economic development. Our work in this area is designed to provide relevant, accessible, and politically neutral analyses and evidence-based policy recommendations. CSBDF’s research program publishes analyses and reports on three main themes. First, we produce research which outlines how small business is fundamental to the growth of regional economies. Second, we highlight the unique challenges that underserved demographics and geographies often face. Finally, our publications encourage practitioners and policymakers to move towards outcome-based frameworks for program evaluation.

• Affordable financing backed by diversified risk management: To promote economic growth, small businesses must be able to access capital on terms that are reasonable and sustainable. CSBDF uses a combination of low rate public and private sector capital that ensures our loans won’t become a burden for the small businesses we help. We’re also mindful of the need to ensure the capital we deploy will return to our loan fund. The nature of small business lending - especially in underserved communities - means that those we help are among the types of businesses that have higher than average rates of delinquency and default. Thus, we have engaged a variety of lending guarantee sources to help minimize the risk of our small business lending activities. Of note, CSBDF is an approved Small Business Administration Community Advantage program lender. Our ability to secure these lending guarantee facilities and affordable capital rates is due in part to our voluntary participation in annual audits that go beyond what is usually required of revolving loan funds. For example, each year CSBDF undergoes a performance audit by AERIS. Our commitment to excellence in this area is also demonstrated by our status as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the US Department of Treasury. • Holistic and adaptive technical assistance programming: The needs of the small business owners are ever-changing. Being able to adapt to current market needs is critical to CSBDF’s provision of technical assistance. The nature of our group training and networking events varies to match local community needs. For example, CSBDF remains one of the only statewide providers of assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs. This programming is managed by a team of culturally aware and multilingual staff. A critical part of CSBDF’s programming is the use of community partnerships to provide entrepreneurs training that targets high need demographics. This includes multiple partnerships that help meet the unique needs of veterans, minority students, and those who live in rural areas. Our long-standing partners include multiple federal agencies, local governments, public and private universities, and community colleges. • Dissemination of practical policy analyses and peer-reviewed scholarship: We seek to provide a meaningful contribution on issues of preeminent importance to community and economic development. Publications and data analysis are produced in different formats depending on the intended target audience. CSBDF produces research reports which feature long form in-depth analyses and assessment of policy issues. We also create research spotlights, which are high-level overviews of theoretical debates, data trends, and scholarly literature. Finally, we write peer-reviewed articles and conference papers with university faculty to empirically demonstrate the importance of small businesses.

CSBDF has deployed resources across the region in support of our goals to provide affordable capital access, holistic technical assistance, and evidence-based policy research. With multiple offices located throughout the state, we offer an accessible pathway for small business success. CSBDF’s activities are coordinated by our headquarters office in Raleigh. The office works with a variety of strategically located resources across North Carolina: • Western Women’s Business Center (WWBC): Located in Candler, the mission of the WWBC is to reduce barriers to small business success and serve as a regional catalyst for entrepreneurship. The Center offers one-on-one business coaching, extensive workshop programming, and a variety of networking events for local small firm owners. Although it focuses on assisting women-owned firms and aspiring women entrepreneurs, programming also targets veterans and other high need populations. The WWBC is a certified SBA Women’s Business Center. • Eastern Women’s Entrepreneurship Center (EWEC): Women entrepreneurs in North Carolina’s northeastern region often face enduring barriers to small business success. The EWEC, located on the campus of Elizabeth City State University (ECSU), was founded to help foster a sense of entrepreneurship among women small business owners and other underserved individuals in the area. The EWEC acts as a comprehensive resource for those who need technical or financial assistance to start or grow a business. • Programa Empresarial Latino (Latino Program): Like other underserved populations, Latino entrepreneurs face many barriers to starting and growing their small businesses. But the set of cultural and language barriers that often confront this population requires a unique and holistic solution. The Latino program fulfills this need using bilingual and bicultural staff that can provide comprehensive counseling and pathways to secure financing. In addition to these centers and programs, CSBDF’s capacity is enhanced by multiple “boots on the ground” staff that can provide services to local communities. We employ multiple business services and business development staff throughout the region. These staff are tasked with helping ensure activities are customized to the needs of local small businesses. For example, staff work to provide disaster resiliency programming for the eastern parts of the state which frequently face business disruption from hurricanes.

The work conducted by CSBDF helps aid in neighborhood-level revitalization, contributes to sustainable urban renewal, and increases the rate of small business creation. More broadly, our programs help create development that is associated with an array of positive outcomes including lower income inequality and aggregate economic growth. The types of firms that benefit most from CDFI lending tend to be from underserved socioeconomic populations and places. This is consistent with our mission to act as a capital access provider to those who have limited access to traditional financial institutions. We measure progress through program evaluation with a focus on (1) performance measurement and (2) summative impact analysis. (1) Performance measurement assesses the results of our activities through outputs, intermediate outcomes, and long-term outcomes. Outputs are completed program activities, like the number and value of loans deployed. Intermediate outcomes are local community changes that occur due to our outputs. For example, a small business hiring a new employee due to receiving a low or no interest loan. Finally, end outcomes represent the ultimate goal of the CSBDF’s activities. End outcomes include an array of socioeconomic measures like increases in social capital or reductions in unemployment. (2) Summative impact analysis draws from both output and outcome data. However, this type of impact measurement is the most difficult because it requires assessing what would have happened if CSBDF’s programs did not exist. Consistent with best evaluation practices, CSBDF’s long-term goal is to move toward more consistent and comprehensive summative impact reporting. Our current measurement methodologies work toward this goal by helping us creating readily available indicators that occur frequently and are easily observable. For example, we collect data from small businesses about their level of trust in community institutions and whether they perceive that their local community supports entrepreneurship. Over time, this will enable us to conduct summative impact assessments. CSBDF utilizes a three-step evaluation process. First, our research staff conduct independent evaluations of activities. Staff retain full autonomy in the evaluation process. Evaluation methodologies, findings, and results are not reviewed or amended by CSBDF’s management in any way. Second, the evaluated program(s) are required to respond to any negative findings. The response must include a plan for improvement and address any major findings of the evaluation report. Third, findings of the evaluation process are shared publicly. We are among one of the few community economic development institutions that publicly post the results of our internal evaluations and make our data publicly accessible. The results of our program evaluations are available at: https://carolinasmallbusiness.org/impact/program-evaluation/.

Due to the generous support of our funders, CSBDF has been proud to make a positive impact on the region’s entrepreneurship community. Over the past 3 decades we’re proud to have made meaningful progress towards our goals. Though much more work is still needed in this area, our progress thus far is reflected by the following: Providing affordable capital access to the region’s small and medium-sized businesses: Since beginning revolving loan activities in 2011, CSBDF has deployed capital across each region of North Carolina. Between 2011 and May 2020, we’ve issued 951 loans and injected almost $70M of capital into the economy. That financing has helped small businesses create or retain 3,078 jobs. Our financing activities are making inroads into the communities that have the highest need. About 59% of lending activity goes to minority-owned firms, 38% goes to women-owned firms, and 18% supports veterans or spouses of veterans. Almost 4 in 10 of our loans helps those with low or moderate incomes. Finally, 21% of our transactions support entrepreneurs in rural counties. Each time a small business receives affordable financing, positive direct/indirect/induced economic effects occur. Based on input-output analysis of our lending activity, each loan supports an average of $224,383 in payroll earnings and $20,755 in new local/state tax revenues. The type of input-output modeling CSBDF uses tends to be more conservative versus other methods like IMPLAN. Still, even using these conservative metrics, the data suggest our work has helped generate $213M in payrolls earnings and $19.7M in new tax revenues. Highlighting the importance of entrepreneurs for economic development: Our research program provides relevant research demonstrating the importance of Main Street business growth for policymakers, development practitioners, and entrepreneurs. CSBDF’s accomplishments in this area include joint publications with faculty from leading institutions like the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Government and Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Research produced by CSBDF staff has been presented at the Federal Reserve's Biannual Conference on Community Development and published in peer-reviewed journals like Economic Development Quarterly.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is the organization collecting feedback?

    We regularly collect feedback through: electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), paper surveys, focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), case management notes.

  • How is the organization using feedback?

    We use feedback to: to identify and remedy poor client service experiences, to identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, to make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, to inform the development of new programs/projects, to identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, to strengthen relationships with the people we serve.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    We share feedback with: the people we serve, our staff, our board, our funders, our community partners.

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to: it is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, we don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, the people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, it is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time.

Financials

Carolina Small Business Development Fund
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Carolina Small Business Development Fund

Board of directors
as of 8/26/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Stephanie Swepson Twitty

Eagle Market Street Development Corporation


Board co-chair

Mr. Tony Hayes

Trancas, LLC

Cheryl Diuguid

Global Technology & Manufacturing

Nancy Stroud

Retired

James Sills

M&F Bank

Ted Archer

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Jada Grady-Mock

Fifth Third Bank

Jeff Roegge

Harvest Small Business Finance

Paulette Dillard

Shaw University

Frank Pollock

The Pioneer Group

Tiffany McNeill

Duke-Progress Energy

Pamela Senegal

Piedmont Community College

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/26/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/26/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.

Keywords

community development, economic development, small business, entrepreneurship, research, technical assistance