Equity1821 aims to be a Black-led CDFI loan fund focused on providing fiscal resources to address the root causes and disparities in small businesses. Named in honor of what is believed to be the first Black-owned business established in Indianapolis in 1821, we strive to create an inclusive economy where Black businesses and other businesses of color receive state-of-the-art lending customized to help their businesses grow. Our focus is changing the small business ecosystem by connecting business owners to the resources they need to thrive. We meet businesses where they are with C.A.R.E., Capital, Acceleration, Relationships and Experiences.

CDFI stands for Community Development Financial Institution. CDFIs are community-based financial institutions that have a common goal of filling financing gaps in underserved and low-income areas. As community-based institutions, they possess a keen sensitivity to the needs of local residents and businesses, and their creation reflects a bottom-up, rather than a top-down, approach to community investment and revitalization.

Equity1821 specifically designated itself as a Black-led organization. Black-led means our organization is predominantly led by a Black board, executive leadership, and staff leadership. The target market that we aim to serve is the Black community. Our primary organizational purpose is to work to build the economic power of the Black community in Indiana.

Community development loan funds (CDFIs) provide financing and development services to businesses, organizations, and individuals in low-income communities.

While our focus is supporting and financing black businesses and the majority of our resources will be allocated to serving this mission, Equity1821 will support and serve other businesses in need.

In addition to their lending activities, Equity1821 provides development services to borrowers, such as training and technical assistance to start-up businesses or financial literacy education. We currently leverage our Black-led business serving partners including the Indianapolis Urban League, Indiana Black Expo, and Indy Black Chamber of Commerce.

We conducted research to understand the types of loans and financial products Black businesses believe they want. We will work with a CDFI consultant to design financially sound but culturally responsive financial products. Stay tuned to the website or sign up for our newsletter to track developments.

We are currently in the process of designing the financial products for the loan fund. We want them to be financially sound and responsive to the economic realities of Black businesses. Once we have identified our products and have proper resources, we will outline the process for seeking funding from the loan fund.

No. Individuals and non-profits are not eligible to apply for financing from the loan fund.

We will be working with the board, our partners, and a CDFI consultant to establish both the type of business and stage in the business life cycle we would like to target for investment.

We will work with a CDFI consultant to establish culturally responsive funding criteria to determine eligibility for the loan fund. 

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