Unconventional lenders have emerged as a force to counter economic inequality within Wisconsin’s small business scene.

For many minority entrepreneurs who face barriers in obtaining support from conventional banks, CDFIs — or community development financial institutions — have been a source of opportunity, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund.

CDFIs are private sector financial organizations with a focus on empowering underrepresented individuals. Through a range of financial services, loans, and training opportunities, CDFIs aim to uplift underserved communities. They provide unconventional loans to individuals with limited or poor credit histories, adapting flexible lending guidelines that cater to the specific needs of the borrower.

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