Empowering Small Businesses to Navigate Unique Challenges

Capital One is dedicated to supporting underserved small businesses with financial and educational resources

Small businesses are the cornerstone of communities across the country, driving innovation, growth and employment for nearly half of the private workforce in the U.S.

Capital One was founded on the belief that information and technology, fueled by great talent, would revolutionize financial services. More than 25 years later, we are still a founder-led company and are uniquely positioned to help other businesses make a difference in the lives of their customers.

We are listening to, partnering with and investing in small businesses and nonprofits to advance economic mobility and bolster social capital. Our philanthropic support of small businesses comes to life through:

Community Partnerships

We are providing targeted support to underserved small businesses through grants to our nonprofit partners across the country.

In partnership with The DEC Network and University of Texas at Dallas, Capital One’s Accelerator Program in Dallas took 10 Dallas-based founders through a 12-week intensive in 2022. The program provided a curriculum to develop their business plans, build new connections and fine-tune their business pitches through workshops, growth consulting and special projects.

Diverse Funding Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

We recognize the need for diverse funding options for small business founders, particularly for Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs who face disparities caused by lack of access to capital, mentors and networks.

Grants help keep businesses afloat during times of economic uncertainty and enable businesses to execute their strategies without taking on additional debt.

In 2022, Capital One launched the Capital One Business Grant Program for Black-Owned Businesses in tandem with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) to support Black-owned businesses in building resilient futures and remove barriers to capital.

The grant program targeted Black-owned businesses that had been in operation for at least two years with annual revenues at or below $1 million. The program awarded grants in the amount of $10,000 to 170 Black-owned businesses — 65 percent of whom were women-owned businesses.

Capital One also supports programming aimed at aiding small business owners, such as the startup business plan competition, Liftoff Houston.

Over the past decade, we have partnered with the City of Houston to award more than $275,000 to Houston entrepreneurs through the competition. In October 2022, Capital One helped award over $30,000 in seed funding to the three winning entrepreneurs.

We also support the creation of regional funds to expand access to ongoing financing. For example, Capital One invested $1 million to help launch the SOAR Fund and help a broad network of CDFIs across fifteen southern states and Washington D.C. reach and serve small businesses — roughly two thirds of which are led by people of color.

Capital One is also a partner in Strive USA, a new program led by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. Strive USA's goal is to provide support for five million businesses over the next five years, with a focus on underserved business owners. Our support will come through providing capital to CDFIs, digital access/training and network development and focusing on wraparound services that help small business owners succeed as they gain access to funding.

“It is essential that we support entrepreneurs from the Black community to create a more inclusive and equitable economy,” said Theresa Bedeau, Community Impact and Investing Lead at Capital One. “Together with AEO, we are helping entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds achieve improved access to capital and tailored small business support.”

Supplier Diversity

Capital One offers three developmental programs focused on helping diverse suppliers succeed.

These programs  pair entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities with Capital One associates and provide them access to instructional courses and subject matter experts to help accelerate business growth, profitability and operating metrics.

Catapult: Since 2017, participants in the Catapult program have worked with dedicated advisors before proposing solutions to a panel of judges as part of the Catapult pitch competition. The winner then receives a cash grant to help grow their business.

SAGE Advice: In tandem with regional partners from the Women’s Business Enterprises National Council (WBENC), the SAGE Advice program leverages the power of networking and mentorship to help female small business owners grow.

Diverse Supplier Mentoring Program: We provide Black and Hispanic business owners with the tools, resources and counsel needed to succeed in today’s marketplace. The program pairs local entrepreneurs with Capital One associates to develop sustainable models that accelerate year-over-year growth, profitability and key operating metrics.

This program launched Richmond, VA in 2020, and is now also offered in the Washington, D.C. and Dallas-Fort Worth areas.

Educational Resources

Small businesses can find a virtual library of content featuring advice and lessons learned from business owners on Capital One’s Learn & Grow and Business Hub pages. Topics include managing cash flow, business fraud, digital transformations and company culture.

We’ve also joined forces with organizations to create resources for small businesses such as:

  • Your Next Move: Co-curated by Capital One and Inc, this video series showcases conversations with experienced business owners who share their unique perspectives around how small business can progress while navigating the realities of the economic landscape.
  • Trusted Advice Library: Through Capital One’s partnership with Masters of Scale, we spotlight business owners in each podcast who are not only surviving during challenging times, but finding ways to thrive and sharing the stories behind their pivots, as well as offering ideas on how others can apply the lessons learned to their own businesses.

Our efforts to support small businesses come as part of the Capital One Impact Initiative, a multi-year, $200 million commitment to create growth in underserved communities and advance socioeconomic mobility by closing gaps in equity and opportunity.

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