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When Financial Inclusion Supports Small Businesses

Guest blog from one of Filene's Accelerating Financial Inclusion Workshop partners: Accion.

National small business week recognizes entrepreneurs and small business owners each year and thanks to a series of free workshops being offered through a partnership with Grameen America and Accion, your credit union can empower entrepreneurs in your community through this unique microlending partnerships.

Accion is the largest nationwide nonprofit lending network in the United States. We serve all businesses, but our mission is financial inclusion. With a history of serving low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs 42% of our portfolio is women-owned businesses and over 60% of our portfolio are minority-owned businesses.

We are thrilled to be partnering with Filene Research Institute to reach even more entrepreneurs who may be struggling to get financing for their businesses through referrals from credit unions.

On May 3, our Director of Lending for the Southeast, Fabiana Estrada, led staff from Florida-based credit unions through a presentation detailing the services Accion provides. She discussed loan requirements and what a new client can expect when they are referred to Accion for a business loan - most importantly, they can expect a personal connection with a passionate staff member like Fabiana.

We were pleased to attend this workshop in conjunction with our local “Small Business Speed Coaching” event held by Accion with our partner, Boston Beer, as part of our Brewing the American Dream program. Over 60 entrepreneurs attended the event to receive free one-on-one coaching on a variety of topics related to running a business in the food and beverage industry - and enjoy complimentary Sam Adams beer and food catered by Accion clients! 

There was a great alignment between Accion and the attending credit unions around the shared mission and vision of improving the services available to individuals who are too often left out of the traditional financial services system. We look forward to capturing that enthusiasm as we continue the workshop series in Chicago next month, and beyond!

Registration is open for the remaining free financial inclusion workshops. 

Chicago, IL: June 25-26
New York City, NY: July 16-17
Foster City, CA: August 15-16
Austin, TX: September 24-25

Find more information by visiting