The Pascale Sykes Foundation announced its contribution to the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) and New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) to support Black business enterprises (BBEs), which have historically faced challenges in the United States. Through a $1 million investment in the Equitable Small Business Initiative (ESBI), the contribution will help create opportunities for BBEs in New Jersey seeking access to resources and support to establish, sustain, augment or expand business operations, as well as those economically impacted by the pandemic.

In January of 2021, the AACCNJ and NJCC partnered to pilot formation of the Equitable Small Business Initiative (ESBI), a $5 million commitment to bring capital to small business. A partnership between a community development financial institution (CDFI) and a New Jersey-based Chamber of Commerce has never been executed on this scale, catalyzing capital to small, BBEs.

“We’re honored to support initiatives like this,” said Fran Sykes, President of Pascale Sykes Foundation. “As sole proprietorships and family-run businesses primarily define the Black business community, they often require non-conventional loans and business guidance for sustainable growth. In collaboration with the AACCNJ and NJCC in this capacity, we can directly affect family owned and operated businesses, be more inclusive, and positively affect a greater number of people.”

The objective of the Equitable Small Business Initiative is to provide high-touch and individualized technical assistance, capacity building and administrative support for program borrowers, to connect BBEs to critical capital to address their emergent and longer-term business financing objectives and provide pandemic relief loans.

“We embrace the philosophy of the Pascale Sykes Foundation of investing their resources into communities and businesses that have struggled to realize their potential due to a lack of intentional economic investment,” said John E. Harmon Sr., IOM, Founder, President and CEO, AACCNJ. “Through our partnership, we will provide technical assistance and needed capital to support businesses that have been marginalized due to systemic barriers. This investment by Pascale Sykes Foundation serves as a response to a clarion call for help by a number of Black, Hispanic and small business owners, however, this time Pascale Sykes Foundation answered the call.”

Wayne Meyer, President of NJCC said, “It’s important we step back and ask ourselves; how can we help communities mitigate these challenges while building long-term resilience.”

For additional information, or inquiries, regarding loan programming, contact the following representatives at AACCNJ or NJCC:

Phillip D. Woolfolk, Senior Loan Administrator, pwoolfolk@aaccnj.com 609-610-6310

Dina Gonzalez, Community Development Officer, dgonzales@aaccnj.com 609-516-8468

Dawn Hare, Home Ownership Program Associate and Lending Administrator New Jersey Community Capital, relief@njclf.com 732-640-2061 ext.119