KY SBA awards Community Ventures 'Microlender Of The Year' – The Lane Report

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Community Ventures’ (CV) long-running success helping Kentucky entrepreneurs launch and grow small businesses has netted them both the 2022 Kentucky Small Business Association Microlender of the Year award and the Veteran Lender of the Year award, bestowed for making the most loans to veteran-run businesses. In addition, Miller Slaughter, CV’s Western Kentucky Business Development Specialist, was awarded the Heavy Hitter award for closing the most microloans. Between October 1, 2021, and September 30, 2022, a total of 163 loans were sourced by Community Ventures. The awards were given at the Kentucky SBA Lenders Conference held on October 13th in Lexington.
Through SBA grants aimed at educating new entrepreneurs and those growing and expanding their businesses, Community Ventures’ microlending team provided 11,800+ hours of pre- and post-loan technical assistance to small business owners over the past year. In addition to teaching aspiring business owners business fundamentals, a significant amount of time is spent helping clients access federal Covid Relief funding aimed at helping small businesses mitigate the ongoing effects of the pandemic.
Lew Whalen, Vice President of Lending for Community Ventures, heads up the microlending team. But Whalen insists that the success of the microlending program is due to the dedication of his team of business development specialists. The team assists clients in Kentucky’s urban and rural areas from offices in Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Campbellsville and most recently, Bowling Green.
“Technical assistance is the bulk of the business development specialists’ jobs. They help our clients navigate the challenges of starting and running a small business,” explained Whalen. “They teach them how to develop a business plan. They help them understand legal issues and technology and access programs and resources.
“Many of the people that come to us are those that can’t get credit through the banks, typically because of their credit score or lack of collateral. Our people help with financial literacy and credit rebuilding, in short, to make the client “bankable.” We partner with the Women’s Business Center, SCORE, Small Business Development Center and others. My team is very good at what they do, as evidenced by these awards. We want to thank the Kentucky SBA for their recognition and the funding that makes it possible for us to serve Kentucky entrepreneurs.”
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