Company helps Black and Indigenous business owners with funding

[anvplayer video=”5181941″ station=”998122″]

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – This Juneteenth, a U.S. senator for New Mexico spent some time learning about a new institution dedicated to helping Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs. 

One Hope Financial Institution held a “Lunch and Learn” event. The event gave people a chance to know what they are all about, and to get other people invested in the cause. 

“Our thing is, like, how do you bring equity and make it equitable?” said Alex Horton with One Hope Financial Institution. 

It’s that idea that led to the creation of One Hope Financial Institution. It provides loans to minority business owners, but it’s not a bank.

“A bank would say, ‘You guys are nuts.’ But that’s what we want to be, one of the nuts and then allow you to go to a bank two, three years from now and get a quarter of a million,” said Charles Ashley III with One Hope Financial Institution.

It’s a fund aimed at helping new business owners who may otherwise struggle with getting a loan to get off the ground. 

“We’ve been running loans at 5% interest, we hold it for 10 years. So we could go up to $10,000. And the whole goal is for that starter, that starter loan to see if I can get it going,” said Horton. 

One Hope Financial reps say they make their loan decisions based on character – not credit score. 

“So we look at some projects before the person, right? That the project makes sense, and then we figure out creatively, how can we get you the capital to make it happen?” said Ashley. 

One such business owner is Dr. Finnie Coleman. He’s an UNM professor, and the owner of a pet grooming business in the northeast heights. 

“If I could hire three groomers right now I do it. I have more business that I can take. I don’t have- I can’t hire the people with the skills that I need,” said Coleman. 

That struggle inspired his latest venture, which One Hope Financial is helping with. 

“We came up with an idea ‘Vets for Pets,’ where we take veterans and train them for this $215 billion industry,” Coleman said. 

With his loan, Coleman is renovating kennels in the International District which will house dogs that would otherwise be put down.

“We open in July, we’ll start training veterans in this, and we’ll start saving dogs,” said Coleman.  

One Hope Financial Institution received a grant from the Kellog Foundation, and it’s getting support from the City of Albuquerque as it gets started. 

Heinrich is looking into ways he can provide support as well.