A year after its successful pilot launch, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced today that it will roll out the Amazon Community Lending program as a long-term offering to help even more sellers grow. In partnership with B.S.D. Capital, Inc. dba Lendistry (“Lendistry”), this program will continue to support urban and rural small businesses in socially and economically distressed communities through short-term loans at competitive and affordable rates. Since its launch, the program has loaned more than $35 million to over 800 sellers—surpassing the original goal of $10 million during the pilot. Now, the program plans to loan more than $150 million in the next three years to small businesses selling in the Amazon US store.
“At Colsen, we have big ambitions to grow the business but a need for capital to facilitate it was critical,” explains Armando Colimodio, co-owner of Colsen, an ecommerce business based in Miami, FL. “By working with Amazon Community Lending, we’ve been able to invest in our business and expand our great product selection through the program’s simple and quick loan acceptance process. We expect to double our sales this year and remain committed to growing our product portfolio."
Amazon sellers account for more than half of all units sold in Amazon’s store. Small businesses approved for a loan from Lendistry through the Amazon Community Lending program can use these funds to grow their business in Amazon’s US store and to cover other strategic business needs, such as staffing and operations costs, inventory, product development and manufacturing, and marketing efforts to build their brands and grow their customer base. Loans provided by Lendistry through this program will range from $10,000 to $250,000 with terms of up to five years.
“Businesses in our communities are often launched with limited responsible options for funding,” shares Talisha Bekavac, executive vice president of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. “The Amazon Community Lending program has created a model that helps Black-owned businesses grow and thrive with a minimum loan size of $10,000 and rates at an affordable and competitive level.”
Since 2011, Amazon has provided loans to small businesses selling in its stores through Amazon Lending. The company believes that an infusion of working capital at the right moment can help sellers succeed. Through its partnership with Lendistry, an established minority-led Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), Amazon can now help reach urban and rural small businesses in socially and economically distressed communities. The majority of the funds Lendistry has historically disbursed have gone to traditionally low-to-moderate income communities, minority-owned businesses, and other historically disadvantaged business owners and the communities they serve.
“Amazon believes businesses of all sizes should have access to financing, payment options, and funds management tools,” explains Tai Koottatep, director and general manager of Amazon B2B Payments and Lending. “The Amazon Community Lending program was developed to help provide sellers in socially and economically distressed communities with working capital as well as one-on-one coaching, education programs, webinars, and classes to help them grow now, and in the future.”
In addition to providing access to critical working capital, the Amazon Community Lending program provides small businesses access to supplementary resources from Lendistry, including one-on-one consulting, webinars, and on-demand educational classes. Small businesses also have access to Amazon’s Seller University and Amazon Small Business Academy to help them succeed.
“When Amazon came to us with the idea for the Amazon Community Lending Program, we knew it would make a significant difference for small businesses that need responsible capital to grow,” says Lendistry CEO, Everett K. Sands. “Together, we’ve done impactful work to expand opportunities for growing businesses and give them a responsible lending option.”
Each year Amazon invests billions of dollars to help sellers expand their businesses by improving the infrastructure, tools, services, and fulfillment solutions to sell in Amazon’s store. In addition to Amazon Community Lending, Amazon separately offers the Black Business Accelerator (BBA) program, which provides access to financial assistance, strategic business education and coaching, and marketing and advertising support to help Black business owners succeed as sellers in Amazon’s store. Amazon also provides a number of other financial tools to help sellers grow—now and in the future. In the last decade, Amazon has introduced convenient financing options through Amazon Lending, rewards on Amazon purchases with the Amazon Business Prime American Express Card, and automatic proceeds disbursements through the Amazon Currency Converter for Sellers (ACCS).
Small businesses interested in learning more about this program can visit sell.amazon.com/programs/amazon-lending.