Press Release: Urbana Small Business Microloan Fund Launched to Support Local Businesses

Andrew BarnesPress Release

Press Release


Media Contact:
Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director
Champaign County Economic Development Corporation


Urbana Small Business Microloan Fund Launched to Support Local Businesses
Support from City of Urbana, Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, Justine PETERSEN,
and Woodforest National Bank to Help Boost Access to Capital

CHAMPAIGN-URBANA, IL, October 27, 2023 – Together with Justine PETERSEN and the City of Urbana, the
Champaign County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is pleased to announce the establishment
of the COVID-19 Recovery: Urbana Small Business Microloan Fund. The loan fund aims to help
disadvantaged entrepreneurs and small businesses in Urbana access affordable financial services.

The City of Urbana committed $250,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to establish the
microloan fund. Justine PETERSEN worked locally with Woodforest National Bank® to leverage the dollars
provided by the city. A total of $2,000,000 is available in the fund, which will continue to revolve.

“The City of Urbana is excited to work with Justine PETERSEN and EDC to offer financial support to Urbana
entrepreneurs and businesses,” stated Darius White, Economic Development Coordinator at the City of
Urbana. “This is a wonderful opportunity to assist our business community with startups, growth, and
expansions of businesses.”

The loan fund aims to assist new and existing businesses and entrepreneurs in Urbana, focusing on those who
do not qualify for traditional lending. Eligible businesses located in Urbana can access small business loans up
to $50,000.

In 2022, Justine PETERSEN established an official presence in the CCEDC office to offer micro-enterprise and
small business lending, consumer lending, and credit-building support. Additionally, Justine PETERSEN has
since launched the COVID-19 Recovery: Champaign County Small Business Microloan Fund with support from
Champaign County, CCEDC, Busey Bank, and PNC Bank, which was recently recognized by the U.S. Small
Business Administration (SBA) as Microloan Program of the Year. Since 2022, Justine PETERSEN has
assisted 113 Champaign County businesses access $2.175M in capital.

“Our organization has been focused on developing more opportunities for area small businesses to access
capital, so we are thrilled about this new partnership to support businesses located in Urbana,” said Carly
McCrory-McKay, Executive Director of the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation. “We’re
grateful to the City of Urbana and Woodforest National Bank® for making this program a reality, and we look to
continue the momentum with Justine PETERSEN and regional partners to collaboratively address barriers
minority businesses experience in accessing the capital needed to start and grow their businesses.”

“Through this collaboration with Woodforest National Bank®, City of Urbana, and Champaign County
Economic Development Corporation, Justine PETERSEN strengthens its enduring commitment to increase
financial inclusivity, empowering disadvantaged entrepreneurs and small businesses in Urbana,” said Sheri
Flanigan-Vazquez, Chief Operating Officer of Justine PETERSEN. “This initiative not only amplifies our shared
vision but also emboldens our efforts to bridge economic disparities, ensuring every business, regardless of its
size, has access to the essential capital it needs to thrive.”

“Woodforest National Bank® is deeply committed to providing access to capital for small business owners
across all regions of Illinois. Collaborating with the City of Urbana, we are providing much-needed capital to
underserved local small business owners. Justine PETERSEN has been a longtime community partner, and
we are confident their resources and staff will make a tremendous impact across the region to elevate job
creation and community and economic development,” said Nisha Floyd, Associate Director, Community
Development, Woodforest National Bank®.

Individuals and businesses interested in learning more about the COVID-19 Recovery: Urbana Small Business
Microloan Fund are encouraged to contact Tristan Brown, Justine PETERSEN’s Illinois Operations Manager,
based full-time at the CCEDC office in Champaign, at, 217-494-0884, or by
scheduling an appointment at

About Champaign County Economic Development Corporation:
The Champaign County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is a public-private partnership
dedicated to fostering a cooperative, county-wide approach to economic development and works to improve
the economic well-being of all Champaign County through efforts that entail job creation, job retention, tax
base enhancements, small business development, and promotion of quality of life. CCEDC brings together
community partners to support economic development by aligning interests through productive relationships,
open dialogue, and advocacy efforts. CCEDC hosts the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at
Champaign County EDC, which provides one-on-one confidential business advice, training, and small
business support programs. Learn more at

About Justine PETERSEN:
Justine PETERSEN is a nationally recognized financial asset-building non-profit organization with offices in
Illinois and Missouri. As a leading community development financial institution (“CDFI”), HUD-certified housing
counseling organization, and US Small Business Administration (“SBA”) microlender, Justine PETERSEN
offers financial products and services that build assets and change lives. Learn more at