Alternative lending resources for Hispanic business owners

October 02, 2023 | 5 minute read

Rieva Lesonsky

Written by
Rieva Lesonsky
President and CEO
GrowBiz Media

Rieva Lesonsky is president and CEO of two companies focusing on small business and entrepreneurship—GrowBiz Media and She’s a nationally-known speaker, best-selling author, award-winning journalist, and authority on entrepreneurship who has covered the industry for more than 40 years.


Hispanic-owned businesses make up a significant portion of the small business landscape. In fact, from 2007 to 2019, the number of Latino-owned businesses grew by 34% while the number of non-Latino owned businesses dropped by 7%, according to a study from the Latino Business Action Network (LBAN) and Stanford University.


As Hispanic-owned businesses continue to grow, access to capital remains imperative. The State of Latino Entrepreneurship Report reports that, like other small businesses, Latino-owned companies need money to meet operating expenses. And they are more likely to seek financing to expand their businesses or acquire additional capital assets.


While the SLEI research reveals that Latino-owned businesses receive less than 2% of venture capital funding, traditional lenders, such as Bank of America, have a wide range of financial products and services available that might meet the needs of Hispanics and other small business owners. These are commonly known as traditional bank business loans and used to be the only option for small businesses. However, with the rise of alternative lending, there are certainly other options for small business owners to consider. The key is knowing where to look. To get started, check out Bank of America’s Access to Capital Directory for Hispanic-Latino entrepreneurs, created in collaboration with Seneca Women, to learn about sources of funding, including equity, debt and grant capital, with a special focus on CDFIs.



CDFIs are private financial institutions that promote responsible, affordable lending to help small businesses in underserved communities. Bank of America is the largest private investor in CDFIs in the United States, with more than $2 billion in loans and investments in over 250 CDFIs in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.


Many CDFIs target Hispanic business owners. Here are several examples.



DreamSpring is a nonprofit that “increases access to credit, makes loans, and provides a community of support to help entrepreneurs realize their dreams.” It provides one-on-one financial education, workshops, networking, mentorship, and other special opportunities.


DreamSpring offers a variety of loan products, including a small business loan.


Accion Opportunity Fund

Formerly known as Opportunity Fund, Accion Opportunity Fund is a nonprofit which helps advance racial, gender and economic justice for all. They work closely with small business owners to provide them with fairly priced loans, educational resources, coaching and support networks in English and Spanish.


CDC Small Business Finance

Founded in 1978, CDC Small Business Finance committed to making an impact for small businesses of all sizes with affordable and responsible loans. Its investment strategy focuses on providing businesses with the capital they need to grow at a pace that aligns with that company’s strategy. In addition to supporting the businesses they lend to, CDC’s goal is to drive meaningful and measurable outcomes in the communities in which they operate.


Available in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Pilot expansion cities: Detroit and Washington D.C. CDC also offers free business advice.


Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE)

As Georgia’s largest small business-focused community development loan fund, “ACE catalyzes entrepreneurial growth through financing and education, with a focus on women, people of color, and low to moderate-income business owners.”


ACE provides specialized loans and business/financial services to women. ACE's Women’s Business Center (WBC) provides free and low-cost consulting services and training programs in English and Spanish at its Norcross, GA location and the ACE offices in downtown Atlanta. The WBC’s target populations are African American and Hispanic women.


Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC)

The Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) is a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) providing alternative financing to help build and grow local businesses in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and the Washington D.C. and Baltimore metropolitan areas.


It offers three loan types depending on the loan amount required and how long the company has been in business. Startups in business for less than a year are eligible.


Grant resources

Grants are another source of funding Hispanic small business owners can consider. Here are a few resources to get you started:


  • connects people who want to change the world to the resources they need to do it. Candid's data tools on nonprofits, foundations, and grants are the most comprehensive in the world.
  • is the centralized location for grant seekers to find and apply for federal funding opportunities. You can narrow your search by funding type, industry category and more.
  • NASE is the National Association for the Self-Employed. The NASE offers Growth Grants of up to $4,000 to its members.
  • United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) offers grant programs working with corporate partners.


Each lending source has different criteria, so carefully compare the offerings to find the one best suited for your small business.

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