Mission & History
At ACCION Chicago, we’re committed to bringing affordable microfinance solutions to small business owners who need them. We’re a dynamic organization that reaches deeply into the communities we serve to help thousands of small business owners grow and thrive. We’re experts in microfinance – and in helping small business owners use it to build their businesses.
ACCION Chicago is an alternative lending organization dedicated to providing credit and other business services to small business owners who do not have access to traditional sources of financing. By encouraging the economic self-reliance of microentrepreneurs throughout the Chicagoland area, ACCION Chicago strives to help businesses and communities grow.
Many of our clients do not have access to traditional bank loans. The small size of their loan request and limited credit history regularly make them ineligible for conventional financing and unable to obtain the credit they need to grow their businesses. ACCION Chicago provides the credit and training necessary to help small business owners increase their incomes, create new jobs, and strengthen their communities.
Launched in 1994, ACCION Chicago was initially an associate of ACCION International, a leading international nonprofit dedicated to helping people grow their businesses by providing small loans and business training. Now affiliated with ACCION USA, headquartered in New York, NY, the organization is part of the largest microlending network in the United States. The U.S. ACCION Network also includes ACCION New Mexico, ACCION San Diego, and ACCION Texas.
As an ACCION U.S. program, ACCION Chicago responds to the need for business credit by low to moderate income “micro” entrepreneurs, or owners of very small businesses. As a result of their businesses’ small size or lack of credit history, many of our clients were unable to access commercial credit before coming to ACCION. But, with the help of educational efforts and a small loan from ACCION Chicago, they are working hard to expand their businesses and increase their incomes.
ACCION Chicago’s unique lending methodology is largely character-based. We do not make loans based on revenue, collateral or credit alone, but also rely on a client’s commitment to their business, as well as references from customers and suppliers. We evaluate loan applications on a case-by-case basis, working with each client individually to ensure that the loan process is quick and easy.