Minnesota CDFI Receives Small Business Leader Award for Mission-Driven Lenders

Goldman Sachs and Surdna Foundation Program Awards $50,000 to Meda for Accelerated Growth in Lending to Entrepreneurs of Color

On November 11, 2015, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) awarded a $50,000 grant to Minnesota-based community development financial institution (CDFI) Metropolitan Economic Development Association (Meda) for excellence in small business lending. Meda accepted the Small Business Leader Award (SBLA) for Mission-Driven Lenders at OFN's annual conference in Detroit. In its second year, the award honors accelerated growth and excellence in mission, impact, and financial sustainability.

Meda has increased small business lending by more than 200% in the past three years and focuses all of its lending to entrepreneurs of color who have historically had a lack of access to capital. The SBLA Selection Committee recognized Meda for its portfolio of services and programs that address these barriers, demonstrated growth in small business lending overall including loan originations, and the lender's outstanding financial performance and sustainability, including high asset quality, self-sufficiency ratio, and positive operating results.

Meda works hard to assist sustainable minority owned employers that create quality jobs. Meda's small business loans have created or retained nearly 8,000 jobs of which 52 percent are held by people of color; 85 percent of Meda's borrowers' have been able to provide employees a level of income at or above the living wage. The organization's success is a direct response to the implicit bias in the market that creates barriers for diverse business owners.

In 2014, using $4.9 million of its own capital, the organization secured an additional $20.8 in financing. Leveraging its CDFI capital, currently at 6:1, is a performance measure for the organization.  As each client business develops and grows a mainstream banking relationship, Meda’s capital is returned to revolve again and meet the needs of its clients.