In 2018, True Access Capital launched an expansion strategy to grow its presence in Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania, with a goal of creating jobs, economic growth and stability in underserved communities by collaborating with existing financial organizations. In the Fall of 2019, True Access Capital was approached by The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation, a Philadelphia-based Community Development Financial Institution. The Capital Corporation is a division of The Enterprise Center, which has been supporting minority entrepreneurs and under-resourced communities for more than 30 years.
At the time, the Capital Corporation was assisting Craig Williams, CEO, Pride Enterprises, with the financing for a multi-million dollar construction project at the Philadelphia Live! Casino Hotel. Pride Enterprises is a development, construction management and consulting company, founded by Williams in 1996. Williams was also working to acquire an electrical company, which would enable Pride Enterprises to secure the casino hotel construction contract, without the need to engage an outside electrical subcontractor.
The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation hoped to complete the deal itself, but had reached its lending limits. Following conversations with its Board of Directors, The Capital Corporation approached True Access Capital about partnering to help fund the project.
“Between the acquisition of the electrical company and entering the casino project as a subcontractor, commercial banks viewed the deal as high risk,” says Courtney Wilborn, Senior Director/Loan Officer at The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation. “So, the collaboration between The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation and True Access Capital made perfect sense.”
The partnership was years in the making: Vandell Hampton, Jr., President & CEO of True Access Capital, had worked at The Enterprise Center earlier in his career and spearheaded the launch of The Enterprise Center Capital Corporation. The Capital Corporation issues loans as small as $1,000 and up to half a million dollars, using non-traditional means of underwriting, focusing more on ensuring the project gets funded, as opposed to underwriting based on FICO scores.
“This is Van’s brainchild,” Courtney says of the Capital Corporation. “Van paved the way for what exists now, in its entirety,” noted Wilborn.
As for True Access Capital’s future in southeastern Pennsylvania, the organization expects to continue collaborating with organizations like The Enterprise Center that share similar goals.