Today, Citi Community Development and the Latino Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) announced a substantial contribution to help small businesses in the district access microloans to support business expansion, income growth, and job creation. LEDC’s successful micro-lending program provides alternative financing to small businesses, the most important engines of economic growth in the District. Citi’s $500,000 commitment will enable LEDC to expand its micro-lending program and increase lending to small businesses by nearly 50 percent over the next year.
More than 58,000 small businesses operate within the District of Columbia. While nearly three-quarters of these businesses employ fewer than 20 workers, small businesses as a whole represent more than 90 percent of all employers and employ almost half of the private-sector workforce in the District—more than 217,000 workers. More importantly, these businesses have been responsible for creating 95 percent of all new private-sector jobs in the District since 2005. 1 Small businesses require ready access to financing; in recent years, however, business owners have found it increasingly difficult to access the capital they need to hire workers, purchase inventory, and expand their enterprises. With the unemployment rate in Washington, DC at 10.4 percent (compared to 8.3 percent nationally) and 34,800 District residents seeking jobs but unable to find them, 2 LEDC’s microlending program provides much-needed capital and other resources to small businesses, the most important drivers of growth in the region.
“We are greatly appreciative to private companies like Citi and nonprofit partners such as the LEDC for their work with local small businesses,” said Washington, DC Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development Victor L. Hoskins. “This city cannot achieve its goals of increased opportunities for entrepreneurs and job-seekers with public-only initiatives and we are pleased that our local small business owners now have enhanced opportunities to access capital because of Citi’s investment.”