At SCCLF, technical assistance goes beyond workshops and events. In fact, the bulk of the TA provided by SCCLF’s lending team is individual assistance. Many potential borrowers seeking business loan financing in South Carolina face obstacles just like the Alstons did- they lacked sufficient collateral and their business was considered a startup. However, while working with the Small Business Development Center on their business plan and financials, they were referred to SCCLF as a potential lender.
“The loan process can be lonely, but Joseph was so available to us. We saw him as an advocate because he worked to understand our business and so he could speak for us,” Sophia Alston said of SCCLF’s Coastal Community Development Loan Officer, Joseph Dukes. “Joseph was very involved, and he helped us put our long-term goals into focus and get a deeper understanding of our industry.”
After working hand in hand with Joseph for nearly a year, the Alstons were approved for a $150,000 loan, which they used to purchase trucks and a trailer for their transportation company. As a result of the loan, a family-owned business situated in a low-income community has been able to hire two additional drivers. The Alstons hope their business will be an example to others in their community who have dreams of owning a business but are not sure how to secure the financing they need.
Part of being a mission-based lender is looking beyond the transactions and seeing the potential for community change through business and property ownership. The intensive individual technical assistance SCCLF provides to borrowers is often the bridge between the borrowers’ goals and the capital they need. “This is one of the best parts of the job,” said Joseph. “The Alstons had aspirations and they were committed. It was gratifying to walk with them through the lending process.”
Sophia agrees, adding, “Joseph is part of the family now.”