Building Capacity for Excluded Entrepreneurs with Rende Progress Capital

At their April 2021 board meeting, the Steelcase Foundation board of trustees approved a three-year $310,750 grant to Rende Progress Capital (RPC) ($73,000 in year 1, $149,000 in year 2, and $88,750 in year 3) to build capacity by hiring additional staff to serve more loan customers and increase its customer base.

Rende Progress Capital’s mission is to eliminate the racial wealth gap by providing loans and technical assistance to Excluded Entrepreneurs of Color in Kent County who face social and financial barriers to acquiring traditional loans because of bias and racial inequity. Launched four years ago, RPC is a response to various on-the-ground realities and reports on the growing racial wealth gap, recognition from experts that entrepreneurship is a key tool to eliminate the gap, and evidence of barriers to Entrepreneurs of Color include racial bias and disparate treatment in conventional business lending. RPC uses a 66-point proprietary lending system which includes racial equity in its approval formula and provides technical assistance to prospective and current lending partners to ensure entrepreneurs have the tools they need to effectively run their businesses and achieve upward mobility.

Through the three-year grant, Rende Progress Capital will add two positions to its team and maintain staffing of four current positions to meet the administrative and technical needs of its clients in Kent County, and look to serve an additional 70 entrepreneurs deploying $600,000 in loans by 2023. We’re excited to assist Rende Progress Capital in its support of Excluded Entrepreneurs to lessen the racial wealth gap and grow the diversity of our local business community.