The City of Fort Worth was recently ranked as the nation’s ninth-best large city to start a business, ranking high for its overall business environment and access to resources. However, Fort Worth was noted as falling short in business costs – with unequal access to capital as a significant obstacle to launching and sustaining a business in the city. This is a unique challenge for small businesses and entrepreneurs of color. To address this challenge, the city is looking to scale its supply of available financing through expanding community development financial institutions (CDFIs). By 2028, the city seeks to increase its CDFI spending from $39 per person to the US average of $235 per person, gaining 125-$250M in new CDFI financing for businesses and entrepreneurs.
To reach this goal, Fort Worth will partner with FUSE Corps to build a permanent, sustainable CDFI-friendly system in the city. The FUSE Executive Fellow will collaborate with CDFI Friendly America to utilize their national expertise and success in Bloomington/South Bend, IN, and work to understand where there are financing gaps in the city that CDFIs can fill, how the city can best work with CDFIs, and how to attract more CDFIs to the city by making it easier for them to identify the opportunities they can finance. The Executive Fellow will build the capacity of CDFI Friendly Fort Worth, nurturing a community-driven ecosystem that expands flexible, affordable, and patient financing to entrepreneurs, businesses, and developers.