Advantage Capital has been providing the financial services necessary for the revitalization of lower income communities and the growth of small businesses for 26 years. Their role in the emerging leaders of the country in community finance was celebrated at the Community Finance Challenge at MIT or the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
CFC or the Community Finance Challenge was held on the MIT campus. Graduate students from all over the country were given the opportunity to share their ideas for bringing small business finance into the current century. Numerous leaders in the industry including Advantage Capital judged the presentations. The focus was placed on finding solutions for the economic development issues the modern communities are currently facing.
Initiatives for national and local levels regarding economic development were discussed including the communities economic divide and evolvement. The efforts are now more targeted, efficient and include a public, private alignment and increased transparency. Many rural areas in America are still struggling with socioeconomic disparities including shrinking populations and joblessness. Numerous businesses are unable to attain flexible capital due to the curtailing of loan activity by the traditional banks. The lack of smaller loans is hurting the small businesses.
These were among the issues discussed in the presentations made during the MIT challenge. Advantage Capital’s Chief Impact Officer is Sandra Moore and Scott Murphy is the Chief Investment Officer. As members of the judging panel they both listened to the student teams present ways to use financial organizations including CDFI’s or Community Development Financial Institutions to reinvigorate communities. Sandra Moore stated the opportunity to listen to a bright young generation on addressing the challenges involved with getting capital to work for small communities and businesses to help them thrive and grow was incredible.
The presentations were extremely varied although the winners provided exceptional new CDFI structures and approaches. The focus of the team winning the grand prize involved helping immigrant entrepreneurs by offering numerous community development activities and organizations to leverage their expertise and technology. One of the persistent themes was social impact. The teams focus was on targeting minority business owners, improving communities and creating high quality jobs.
Scott Murphy was inspired by the enthusiasm and excitement of the teams. He believes the next generation of business owners, investors and community partners will create growth opportunities in the areas most lacking. He is looking forward to seeing what actions they will take next.