Charter Communications said Wednesday that its Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund will invest $3 million in the Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) to provide loans to local businesses that provide goods and services meeting the core needs of financially underserved areas in Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.
About $1 million of that investment is earmarked for Kentucky communities within Charter’s footprint.
“Spectrum is an important part of every community we serve, and we are invested in the continued success of those communities across our footprint,” Charter SVP David Ellen said in a press release. “Small business ownership and growth are fundamental to developing and sustaining economic strength and our support to local businesses will provide access to much-needed capital allowing them to thrive. We are excited to be partnering with HOPE and investing in these Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama communities.”
Charter said it is also providing a grant to support technical assistance for small business owners and other program costs. The investment is expected to be combined with additional capital from other sources and to lead to the creation of hundreds of new jobs in underserved communities throughout the three states.
“Small business is a vital source of jobs and services, particularly in low-income and minority communities,” HOPE CEO Bill Bynum said in a press release. “Unfortunately, too often, these communities and their residents lack access to traditional financial services. Charter’s investment in HOPE represents a welcome step towards closing these long standing opportunity gaps.”
HOPE is a certified community development financial institution (CDFI) that helps more than 100,000 financially underserved people in the Deep South, providing access to affordable, financial products and services in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Charter unveiled the investment at an event on Aug. 25 at the Norton Healthcare Sports and Learning Center in Louisville, where Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the program will positively impact financially underserved communities by providing growth capital, creating new jobs and strengthening businesses.
“Investments in our people like the one Charter is making will help us ensure that everyone in Kentucky takes part in the amazing economic momentum we are seeing week after week,” Gov. Beshear said in a press release. “Hope is the right name for this investment, as these funds help support the financially underserved by providing new opportunities that can ignite and sustain strong economic growth.”
Charter launched the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund in 2020 and has committed more than $18 million to invest in CDFIs to support small and minority-owned businesses in economically underserved communities within the company’s 41 state footprint. In addition to the loans, each CDFI receives a grant to fund technical assistance programs and professional training for small businesses to help establish sound business practices necessary for long-term growth and continuity. Some of these grants have recently been earmarked to support businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.
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