Sam’s Club Giving Awards $8.8 Million in Grants to Help Small Business Owners Gain Access to Capital

New grants are part of five-year plan to bolster community lending
resources and unlock access to affordable capital for America’s
underserved small business owners

BENTONVILLE, Ark.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In advance of National Small Business Week, Sam’s Club and Sam’s Club
Giving are announcing their continued commitment to small business
owners—especially women, minorities and veterans—with $8.8 million in
new grants. These grants have been awarded to organizations dedicated to
borrower education initiatives that ease the top barrier to entry for
many small businesses, which is access to capital.

Many small business owners have the drive, the ingenuity and the grit to
make their business successful, but often access to capital is a barrier
to entry. Research published by the Small Business Administration noted
the struggle may be compounded for women and minority business owners
and that, despite their growing economic significance, women- and
minority-owned firms tend to have an inadequate access to capital.

In 2015, Sam’s Club and Sam’s Club Giving announced the Small
Business Economic Mobility initiative
, a five-year investment in
small business growth through increased access to capital and borrower
education. The initiative’s first round of grants totaled $13.6 million
to eight national nonprofit organizations that provide access to capital
and borrower education to underserved U.S. small businesses, including
women, minorities and veterans.

Serving small business owners and entrepreneurs as members for 33 years,
Sam’s Club launched the philanthropic initiative to respond to the
national struggle for small business owners in low-to-moderate income
communities to attain affordable loans and navigate the lending process.
By bringing together expertise, business initiatives such as the
recently announced Business Lending Center and philanthropic
investments, Sam’s Club and Sam’s Club Giving are uniquely positioned to
help small business owners access affordable capital.

“Sam’s Club has a long history of helping small businesses get access to
big business savings, save money and grow their businesses—that’s the
reason our founder Sam Walton started Sam’s Club,” said Kathleen
McLaughlin, Walmart’s Chief Sustainability Officer and President of the
Walmart Foundation, which oversees the Sam’s Club Giving Program. “When
small businesses succeed, economic growth and job creation follow, which
is why Sam’s Club and Sam’s Club Giving are committed to creating small
business prosperity by awarding grants to national nonprofit
organizations that help to increase access to capital and better
education for underserved business owners across the U.S.”

Highlights from this year’s Small Business Economic Mobility initiative
grants include:

             

Partner

   

Grant Amount

   

Program

Accion     $3.3 million     Strengthen Accion’s ability nationally to serve small businesses by
modernizing and streamlining its national operating model,
technology and loan-making process to better meet the demand for
credit and capital among underserved business owners, including
women, minorities and veterans. In addition, Accion in Chicago will
create an innovative program designed to counter the ill effects of
predatory small business lending.
Community Reinvestment Fund, USA     $2 million     Increase access to capital for underserved small business owners by
growing the capacity and capability of other mission-driven lenders
through helping them streamline processes and reduce costs directly
associated with loan origination.
Small Business Majority Foundation     $1 million     Scale business operations and grow educational programs for
minority, women and other underrepresented entrepreneurs, providing
them with resources and education in key areas of running a
business, including increasing their knowledge about how to find and
secure financing.
Grameen America     $750,000     Fund access to capital exclusively for low-income, women
entrepreneurs to scale their growing microbusinesses. In particular,
Grameen America’s members often lack access to traditional financial
institutions and mission-driven lenders. This funding will provide
capital, training and support, as well as asset building services
for underrepresented small business owners.
Lift Fund     $750,000     Fund program support, technology enhancements and capacity building
activities to scale efficient programming and spur economic
development.
SCORE American Small Business Championship     $657,000     Establish new mentor relationships for SCORE with small business
owners and provide training to business owners about important
topics such as marketing, pricing and finance.
Enactus United States     $300,000     Create business borrower education events (in person and online) led
by university students and local community resources to educate
small business owners on how to select a finance product that best
meets their needs.
University of New Hampshire research     $35,000     Fund research project leading to the better understanding of
business models, common interests and potential opportunities for
partnerships between online lenders and community development
financial institutions.
       

The first round of Small Business Economic Mobility initiative grants
made in 2015 are already having a positive impact. Sam’s Club Giving
gave the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) a $3.6 million grant to
support development of an educational campaign to inform small business
owners about affordable, responsible alternatives to predatory lending.
“With the grant from Sam’s Club Giving, OFN was able to create
Venturize, a first-of-its-kind online platform designed to equip small
business owners, especially those of color, women and under 40, with
powerful tools they can use to make important decisions about accessing
responsible capital,” said Mark Pinsky, OFN’s President and Chief
Executive Officer. “Venturize is a game-changer.” The Venturize campaign
will launch in May 2016.

Sam’s Club Giving and the Walmart Foundation are teaming up with Small
Business Majority and Accion to offer a free, one-hour webinar on May 4
during National Small Business Week. The webinar will help entrepreneurs
and small business owners bring finance into focus for long-term
success. Participants can register online
and will learn background on the small business loan market and
providers as well as how to identify the right type of financial product
for their business needs.

For more information on Sam’s Club’s investment in our communities, read
the recently released 2016
Global Responsibility Report
.

About Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club Giving
Program

Sam’s Club®, a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT), is a
leading membership warehouse club offering superior products, savings
and services to millions of members in 652 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto
Rico. To learn more about Sam’s Club, visit the Sam’s Club Newsroom,
shop at SamsClub.com, and interact with Sam’s Club on Twitter and
Facebook.

The Walmart Foundation created the Sam’s Club Giving Program in 2008
with a focus on small business support. Sam’s Club and the Sam’s Club
Giving Program, have granted $28 million since 2011 in support of micro-
and small business growth. In addition, Sam’s Club provides annual
community grants to a variety of nonprofits, offers associate volunteer
programs, and donates products to local food banks. For more information
visit SamsClub.com/giving.

Contacts

Sam’s Club
Media Relations:
Dianna Gee, 1-800-331-0085
SamsClub.com/newsroom