January 1, 2017
As two of the nation's leading nonprofit small business lenders, Accion, The US Network (Accion) and Opportunity Fund help entrepreneurs thrive by providing affordable capital and support services so they can start a new business endeavor or grow an existing enterprise.Accion and Opportunity Fund came together to develop a first-of-its-kind national longitudinal study of the impact of small business loans in the United States. With lead funding from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and with support from S&P Global, the study aims to uncover the qualitative impacts of lending on individuals, their businesses, and their broader communities. This study, conducted by Harder+Company Community Research, builds on the body of previous evaluation work that showed small businesses that receive loans create and retain jobs, increase revenue, and have high business survival rates. Following a cohort of more than 500 borrowers across the country, this study examines how business owners define success and how access to finance improves their entrepreneurial goals, financial health, and quality of life. By focusing on the longer-term impacts of small business lending while examining variations due to business type, geography, and other factors, the study will help deepen our understanding of how mission-based business lending impacts individuals, families, and communities.This report includes preliminary findings collected during this first phase of the study. While entrepreneurs reported perceived and actual impact to date, these changes will be tracked over time to examine the ways in which they are or are not sustained, and how these changes compare across and within lending regions.