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Nusenda Credit Union Receives Grant From U.S. Small Business Administration PRIME Program

Oct 25, 2018

Co-op Capital PRIME Program

Nusenda Credit Union Receives $250,000 Grant From U.S. Small Business Administration PRIME Program

Nusenda Credit Union is one of 32 community-based organizations nationwide to receive funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) program, which aims to help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.


Nusenda is one of three organizations in New Mexico to receive PRIME funding; at $250,000, it received the largest amount of funding of all applicants. Via Nusenda Foundation’s Co-op Capital program, it intends to use the funding to provide growth-building and technical assistance for micro-enterprise development organizations that serve business owners in low-income, minority, immigrant, and Native American communities in and around Albuquerque; as well as rural Navajo and Hopi sovereign nations.


Co-op Capital is an award-winning program that widens access to capital to groups that are typically shut out from traditional financial avenues because of lack of collateral, credit, or alternative financing.


“This generous financial support from the Small Business Administration is affirmation that our     Co-op Capital program is on task to help New Mexico’s entrepreneurs who face barrier after barrier in securing capital to start or expand their businesses,”said Robin Brule, executive director of the Nusenda Foundation and senior vice president/special assistant to the president at Nusenda Credit Union.


 “This innovative ‘alternative to the alternative’ lending model is showing great success with organizations like Three Sisters Kitchen, the South Valley Economic Development Center, the Family Independence Initiative (FII), Street Food Institute, and others,”she added.“It is truly amazing to watch these businesses and entrepreneurs grow and flourish – and we are eager to take this program to the next level, thanks to this funding.”


“This recognition from the Small Business Administration is a great example of how Nusenda has been successful at leveraging more funding streams and program resources for partner organizations, who in turn can offer low-interest loans to more working families,”says Alvin Warren, program officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “Creating new models to promote equity in our communities is a win for all New Mexicans.”


“The FII is really grateful for the partnership with the Nusenda Co-op Capital Program to offer loans to families who would not have access to affordable capital through traditional routes,” said Susy Sarmiento, FII site director. “Together, we’ll be able to demonstrate that low-income families deserve financial institutions’ trust and investment.”

Javier Martinez, executive director for Partnership for Community Action, said, “We’re very proud of our work with Nusenda Credit Union to bring affordable loans to low-income, immigrant communities across Albuquerque. Through this effort, we’re helping build opportunities for economic security for families and their children, so they can build the assets they need to thrive. Nusenda has been an innovative and collaborative partner, and we look forward to many more successes together.”


Robert DelCampo, Ph.D., executive director of the University of New Mexico’s (UNM) Innovation Academy, said, “Thirty-two percent of UNM students are Pell Grant eligible, and almost 90% receive some form of financial aid — the ability to invest in a business idea isn’t something that can really afford. But it doesn’t take a lot of money, most of our student businesses need $500-$2,000 in order to become profitable — but when you are 18 to 20 years old, it is nearly impossible to come up with that sum of money while you are in school. 


“The ability to kick-start not only student businesses but also financial responsibility is an enormous benefit,” DelCampo added. “There simply aren’t other universities where this is an option — Nusenda is putting us on the cutting edge.”



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