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Starbucks invests $10 million in Chicago small business

Starbucks has announced plans to invest US$10 million in four community lenders to drive economic opportunity in Chicago, United States.

“We believe the pursuit of profit is not in conflict with the pursuit of doing good,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says.

“We know that our business performs at its best when the communities we serve are thriving. This sustained investment will provide borrowers who often face barriers with access to capital and mentorship to grow their business and create more jobs in Chicago.”

This investment is expected to help finance more than 500 loans to foster growth in small business, support community development projects, and create more jobs in Chicago’s underserved communities.

“I applaud Starbucks for their commitment of corporate citizenship and efforts to strengthen the communities in which they serve,” Mayor Lori E Lightfoot says.

“Chicago’s own relationship with Starbucks stretches over three decades, and we are incredibly excited to continue that partnership well into the future, through the 200 new jobs created in the beautiful new Reserve Roastery, as well as across our neighbourhoods that aligns to our new Invest South/West initiative, as we work together to drive investment and access to opportunity for every one of our city’s residents and families.”

The US$10 million investment from Starbucks is planned to be dispersed among Accion Chicago, Chicago Community Loan Fund, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and IFF — four established Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) that drive economic opportunity in the city’s neighbourhoods, especially within those with little access to the flexible, affordable capital that entrepreneurs need. In addition to lending, the organizations will provide borrowers with mentoring and technical assistance to ensure the success of their projects.

“Our communities are filled with talent and entrepreneurial spirit,” says Meghan Harte, Executive Director of LISC Chicago, which has invested more than US$970 million in grants, loans, and equity throughout Chicago.

“What they often lack is access to the right kind of capital so that entrepreneurs can launch, build, and grow. With this investment, Starbucks is supporting a broadly shared prosperity that will deliver clear benefits to residents, while making our neighbourhoods safer and stronger.”

With more than 150 combined years of experience providing capital and financial guidance, Starbucks says these CDFIs have the financial expertise and local knowledge of Chicago to support meaningful, sustainable impact. Areas of focus for loan disbursement will include small businesses, non-profit organisations, and commercial real estate ventures.

The investment comes in the leadup to the opening the Starbucks Reserve Roastery on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in the coming weeks.

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