Small businesses are key to our economy, significantly contributing to job growth and income in the U.S. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), more than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Community Development Entities utilize the CDFI Fund’s various programs to finance small businesses and support entrepreneurship and job creation in underserved communities nationwide. Since 2009, CDFI Program awardees have originated 88,173 small business loans totaling $3.28 billion. The New Markets Tax Credit Program has also provided funding for 691 projects for small businesses totaling $276,501,094 since Fiscal Year 2003.
In recognition of National Small Business Week and to highlight how CDFIs and CDEs help create and sustain small businesses, CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan visited Rito Loco, a food truck to store front success story, and their CDFI partner, the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), both of which are based in Washington, DC.
Danny Diaz and Louie Hankins started Rito Loco in 2012 (Rito is short for burrito). After a wildly successful ride with the food truck, the two partners decided to open a brick-and-mortar location in Washington, DC’s Shaw neighborhood in August of 2015. In September of 2016, Dan and Louie approached LEDC for support to expand the restaurant and make other capital improvements.
Rito Loco Co-Owner Louie Hankins shares the rooftop expansion plans.
LEDC Executive Director Marla Bilonick discusses their financing of Rito Loco with CDFI Fund Director Donovan.
Director Donovan and LEDC Executive Director Marla Bilonick visited with Louie at Rito Loco’s soon-to-open new rooftop. LEDC’s $20,000 construction bridge loan filled a critical financing gap. Now, Rito Loco will triple the capacity of the restaurant and hire five to eight new employees. In addition to the bridge loan, LEDC helped Dan and Louie with technical assistance navigating the DC’s Great Streets capital improvement grant program. Overlooking the now bustling Shaw neighborhood, the three discussed the challenges and rewards of running a small business.
Please visit these links to learn how the CDFI Fund’s programs work and how the CDFI Fund’s programs can help your community; or visit our website at www.cdfifund.gov.
Bill Luecht is the Senior Advisor for Legislative and External Affairs at the CDFI Fund.
- The CDFI Fund utilizes the FDIC’s definition of small business loans across all its programs. Small business loans are defined as business or micro loans under $1 million.