Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) is a nonprofit community development financial institution whose mission is to foster economic opportunity through business ownership by providing loans and management consulting to disadvantaged business owners, including women, minorities and low-income persons. To fulfill this mission CEF provides business loans up to $250,000 to entrepreneurs who are unable to obtain financing from traditional sources and management consulting services to help them improve their business skills and knowledge in order to become sustainable businesses.
- Loan Program: CEF provides small business loans between $1,000 and $250,000 to entrepreneurs who are unable to obtain financing from traditional sources. CEF lends money to both start-up and existing businesses. Clients must have a strong business plan in order to demonstrate a market and their abilities to implement the plan. Loan funds can be used for equipment and inventory, working capital, marketing expenses, receivables financing and other start-up costs.
- Childcare Loan Program: In 1998, CEF established a special loan program for child care providers to enable them to better meet the needs of their communities. CEF loans money to childcare providers who use the loans to remodel the childcare centers and purchase updated educational resources for the children.
- Management Assistance: CEF provides Management Assistance to entrepreneurs who qualify for loans under their program. Once an applicant becomes a borrower, he/she will have further access to one-on-one consulting, focusing on cash flow management, marketing, profitability analysis and technology issues.
Investments by public, private and corporate sources, as well as institutions such as Calvert Foundation, provide lending capital to CEF.
Large portions of CEF's client community are from urban areas, with 83 percent from major and minor urban areas and 17 percent from rural areas. The percentage of borrowers that come from households with incomes at or below 80 percent of area median income is 66 percent. CEF services a diverse client population. About 71 percent of CEF's clients are white and of the other clients, 15 percent are African American, 9 percent are Latino, 4 percent are Native American and 2 percent are Asian. Additionally, 48 percent of CEF's clients are female.
In 2008, CEF had another strong year as it financed 77 microenterprises and small businesses with loans worth approximately $1,638,257 helping to create and sustain 373 jobs. CEF also financed 2 childcare businesses with loans worth $18,180. Since inception, CEF has financed over 780 microenterprise and small business loans worth about $15.4 million and has assisted 3,623 jobs. CEF has also financed 88 childcare loans totaling over $1.4 million, thereby helping to create or enhance over 1,652 childcare slots.
Daddy Mom Childcare and Learning Center is a Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF) borrower that provides affordable quality childcare to the southwest Denver community. Daddy Mom is a non-profit child care center that is managed by its founders Laura and Chris Gonzales.
Laura and Chris came to CEF for a loan to refinance the playground equipment that is the focal point for the center. “The right people were brought into our life at the right time! We were at a financial crossroad when we met the people at CEF. They are the most genuine people you will ever meet,” Laura said. CEF’s technical assistance helped Laura organize their financials to restructure the debt on their building, helping them bring in some grant funding and additional loans.