Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI) is the only Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in Denver that serves low-income entrepreneurs. In 2017, RMMFI approached Social Venture Partners (SVP) Denver, a program of The Denver Foundation fueled by engaged philanthropists who provide pro bono capacity-building services to local nonprofits, for help to increase the size of the loans they provide to their business program graduates from $5,000 to up to $75,000.
In partnership with RMMFI staff, SVP volunteers created an underwriting process that leverages the unique components of RMMFI: their deep relationship with entrepreneurs, their graduates’ commitment to loan repayment, and the support of business mentors.
As a result of the new underwriting process facilitated by SVP, RMMFI expects to grow its loan size over the next two years with the goal to raise $500,000 this year! Since access to capital is critical for success of new business, RMMFI can now be a much more powerful source of capital for its client entrepreneurs, demonstrating a new economic development model – the first of its kind in the U.S.
“The SVP project far exceeded our expectations. The team SVP crafted for our project could not have been more aligned to the needs of the organization and was the perfect mix of project management, technical experts, and get-it-done’ers. They took the appropriate amount of time to understand the organization and our entrepreneurs before committing to any solution, which allowed us to exit the project with a new program positioned for approval by the Board of Directors and execution ready for the team.” – Rob Smith, RMMFI Executive Director