Business Expanding

Amazon partners with Lendistry to expand small-business loan program

Amazon is rolling out a small-business lending platform in partnership with Lendistry, with plans to lend more than $150 million in the next three years to support urban and rural small businesses.

The formal launch follows a one-year pilot of the Amazon Community Lending program. The two companies say they hope to make short-term loans to Amazon sellers in “socially and economically distressed” communities for such purposes as inventory expansion, brand building and staffing costs. Amazon Community Lending has loaned more than $35 million to more than 800 small businesses that sell products on Amazon since the pilot launched last fall. 

Lendistry, a community development financial institution, can provide loans through the program of $10,000 to $250,000 with terms of up to five years for sellers to grow their business in Amazon’s U.S. store. 

“When Amazon came to us with the idea for the Amazon Community Lending Program, we knew it would make a significant difference for small businesses that need responsible capital to grow,” Lendistry CEO Everett K. Sands said in a prepared statement. 

Tai Koottatep, director and general manager of Amazon B2B Payments and Lending, said in a prepared statement that the program was developed to provide sellers with capital and education, giving borrowers access to Lendistry’s coaching resources and Amazon’s Seller University and Small Business Academy.

Colsen, a Miami-based business that sells products like shower filters, extension cords and food bags, was one of the borrowers through the pilot program. Co-owner Armando Colimodio said in a prepared statement that Colsen expects to double its sales this year and is expanding its product portfolio.

“At Colsen, we have big ambitions to grow the business but a need for capital to facilitate it was critical,” Colimodio said. “By working with Amazon Community Lending, we’ve been able to invest in our business and expand our product selection through the program’s simple and quick loan acceptance process.”

Talisha Bekavac, executive vice president of U.S. Black Chambers, said in a prepared statement that Amazon Community Lending offers Black-owned businesses responsible options for funding, with affordable and competitive rates. Amazon also offers the Black Business Accelerator to provide financial and strategic assistance to Black business owners.

The Seattle e-commerce titan has provided loans to small businesses, which account for more than half of all units sold in Amazon’s store, through Amazon Lending for 11 years. Since April 2020, Amazon and third-party lending partners have lent more than $800 million to American small and medium-sized businesses.

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