Excerpt from THE PRESS DEMOCRAT September 17th, 2021 – Original and complete article here…
Opening capital pipeline
Creser Capital Fund is working to become the financial launchpad for many Hispanics in the county to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. Since getting off the ground in November, Creser has raised $350,000 from private donors and foundations to lend to Latino startups, Juan Hernandez III, CEO and co-founder, told me.
The fund has so far extended five loans totaling $90,000, including to a Petaluma female chocolate maker and a Sonoma man who sanitizes homes for real estate agents before houses are sold. Creser Capital is now an emerging Community Development Financial Institution aimed at lending money to small Latino businesses that don’t have the operating track record to secure commercial loans from banks. In three to six months, Hernandez expects the company will be a full-fledged federally designated community development lender.
“This is not a GoFundMe page. This is a big nut to crack,” said the former eight-year La Luz Center executive director who had started a microlending program there in Sonoma with the nonprofit. “There’s a business funding gap we have an opportunity to fill. This is the time.”
His goal: raise $35 million in capital in the next three years to lend to upstart Latino enterprises, most of them shut out from traditional commercial bank loans and, therefore, relying on personal savings, family donations or sometimes consumer credit carrying unfavorable financial terms.
“As Latinos, we have to be the architects of our own solutions,” Hernandez said. “We’re focused on closing the wealth gap for Latino entrepreneurs.”
To survive the ongoing pandemic, these business operators have done what others running companies have done: developed or sharpened online commerce to reach more customers and pivoted operations to services or production in greater demand.