“In many situations, those folks in the community have trust issues with our systems and government. They’ve been let down a lot.”
Last week, RMMFI CEO Rob Smith was featured in a Denver Business Journal article discussing the future of lending. While access to capital for underserved groups is certainly critical to creating a more inclusive economy, it’s not the only barrier that needs addressing. Especially in a time when revenue streams are insecure, we need to think more broadly about how we support asset building for individuals and communities.
RMMFI’s programs are intentionally designed to ensure that capital meets capacity. Jasmine Douglas, owner of Booji Beauty Bar & Co., is an example of what can happen when those elements come together to help an individual unleash their potential. Jasmine graduated from Class #20 of Business Launch Boot Camp in 2017. Her business has grown consistently over the past 4 years, and she is now moving into a larger space to accommodate her expanding staff and service offerings (in addition to new social distancing requirements).
To fuel this success, Jasmine recently took a Growth Loan from RMMFI — the largest in our history — and we’re backing her with far more than capital. Jasmine participated in our recent Pivot Accelerator Program, where she worked with staff, peers, and a volunteer mentor to expand her retail product line, allowing her to grow her brand by taking it from the salon into people’s home beauty regimen. As part of her lending package, Jasmine is receiving ongoing support from another mentor to ensure that her business remains on a positive trajectory.
We’re confident that RMMFI’s programs work, but what ultimately makes the difference is our commitment to building deep relationships with the entrepreneurs we serve. For communities that have been overlooked and underestimated, that foundation of trust is an essential starting point.