Recently, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton sat down with Kevin Dick, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Carolina Small Business Development Fund, via Zoom and filmed the fourteenth edition in a video series called Critical Conversations. In this series, Scott talks with professionals about economic development issues affecting the state.
Dick has served in several roles throughout his career that have helped substantially improve economic development in North Carolina. Dick became the president and chief executive officer of the Carolina Small Business Development Fund (CSBDF) in February 2020.
CSBDF, which started providing assistance to entrepreneurs in 1990, is a nonprofit and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that fosters economic growth in underserved communities. CSBDF started providing affordable financing to entrepreneurs in 2010. In the last 12 years, CSBDF has contributed more than $85 million through more than 1,100 loans and 1,100 grants dedicated to small businesses across North Carolina, assisting in not only the creation, but the retention of more than 4,700 full-time jobs.
Dick explained that the combination of his 24 years of experience in economic development coupled with his personal passion for investing in equitable economic development prepared him for his role as president and chief executive officer of CSBDF. Dick shared that if all business owners have access to the right tools and knowledge as well as the financial resources, that helps all businesses do better.
Dick shared that CSBDF operates under three pillars: financial assistance, technical resources, and policy and research. As a CDFI, CSBDF serves underserved communities with loans and grants, which includes rural communities and minority, women, veteran-owned businesses, as well as business owners with low to moderate income. The CSDBF recently started a program that is in Spanish for Hispanic-owned businesses. Most of the CSDBF’s loans are between $5,000 to $250,000, serve businesses with zero to 20 employees, and have $5 million or less in assets.
Dick talked about the technical assistance that CSBDF clients receive. He shared that the best way to contact CSBDF for assistance is through CSBDF website’s “Request for Business Assistance Form.” The form provides the information needed to know what type of assistance a business needs. CSBDF can then assess if the business needs capital, technical assistance, or a referral to another partnering service.
CSBDF also works on policy and research related to small businesses so that they can inform what the current small business climate is and how to best support these businesses. As it relates to the pandemic, Dick shared that the biggest issue his businesses are dealing with relates to the loss of and retention of employees as well as hiring new employees. CSBDF is also seeing issues with supply-chain. Dick noted that it is estimated that high-touch businesses who need face-to-face interaction to succeed are not expected to see normal operations until 2024, and that is only if the pandemic goes away.
Critical Conversations is a feature in the Golden LEAF newsletter every month. The next edition will be in our July 14th edition of LEAF Lines.