The NC Rural Center is awarding over $3 million to organizations that provide loans to small businesses. 

The Raleigh-based organization is granting the money to six Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, to expand their ability to make loans in under-resourced or low-wealth communities.

According to a news release, the initiative is being funded by the state General Assembly, which created the program in 2022 to spur business growth.

Patrick Woodie, president and CEO of the NC Rural Center, says CDFIs play an increasingly crucial role in aiding small businesses, especially those that need loans of less than $250,000.

"The smaller the business, the more likely it is that a CDFI is the source of their lending, and particularly probably the first capital that they ever have in their business," says Woodie. 

One CDFI, Partner Community Capital in Winston-Salem, is receiving funding to hire staff, revise loan policies, and upgrade technology.

The Asheville-based Mountain BizWorks will use a grant to expand engagement in the High Country and improve technical capabilities. 

Woodie says a second round of grants will be awarded in the next year.  

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