Frequently Asked Questions
What is Venturize?
- Venturize is a free online resource hub for small business owners developed by Small Business Majority. In addition to our loan application tool, which helps to match small business owners to reputable lenders, Venturize provides small businesses with unbiased information to learn about small business lending, become loan-ready and be prepared to own the borrowing process.
What is Community Reinvestment Fund USA, (CRF)?
- CRF, a national nonprofit community development financial institution, is a leader in bringing capital to underserved people and communities. Since 1988, CRF has injected more than $2.4 billion into communities in 49 states across the country to help stimulate job creation and economic development, provide affordable housing, and support community facilities.
How does Venturize work with CRF to power the lending application?
- Venturize works in partnership CRF to integrate their Connect2Capital matching tool into Venturize.org. Partnering with CRF allows us to direct small business owners to responsible lenders in Chicagoland, including Accion, Women’s Business Development Center, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and CRF.
How does the Venturize-CRF Connect2Capital lending portal work?
- The Connect2Capital lending portal is a user-friendly tool designed for Chicagoland small business owners to connect with multiple lending options through one quick and easy application. Matches are based on the borrower’s self-reported business and credit information, the amount needed and other factors such as geographic location and industry. Of the lenders you match with, you will choose who to send your application to. Business owners who don’t qualify for a loan or need additional education or counseling will be directed to small business assistance centers that can help them improve their applications.
Is Venturize a lender?
- No, Venturize is not a lender. Venturize is a platform that works in partnership with CRF to connect small business owners in the Chicago area to vetted, trusted financing options.
Is CRF a lender?
- CRF is a national nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI), also known as a mission-based lender. That means CRF does provide direct capital to underserved people and communities, in addition to working with other trusted lenders to power the lending portal.
What types of financing are available?
- Venturize and CRF work with multiple types of debt lenders such as community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other mission-based lenders in Chicago. The financing available depends on the unique business history, needs and location of each borrower.
How is Connect2Capital different from other online lending platforms?
- Connect2Capital was created to help Chicago small businesses navigate online lending options safely by working with vetted, reputable lenders that put entrepreneurs’ needs first and have a mission-driven goal to support small business owners.
Are there any fees for using Connect2Capital?
- No, applying for financing from Connect2Capital is 100% free for businesses.
Does Venturize or CRF make money from matching me to a loan?
- CRF or Venturize may receive referral fees from select partners once a loan matched through the platform has been disbursed. There is no fee to the borrowers.
Why does Venturize and Connect2Capital need my information?
- We need some basic financial information about your business to make the best possible match to lenders. Applying for a loan can require a lot of time and paperwork, and we want to save you time by connecting you with the right lender for your small business.
Will Venturize share my loan application information?
- We do not sell your information. We only share your information with the lenders you select as part of the loan application.
Is my information safe? How does Venturize protect my identity and data?
Will completing the Connect2Capital application check my credit/affect my credit score?
- Your credit score will not be affected by completing the loan application as we do not run a credit check. However, if you do match with a lender, they might need to do a hard credit check to verify your information.
Can I qualify for a loan even if I don't have a good credit score?
- While many lenders use your credit score in evaluating your loan application, many of the lenders on Connect2Capital are mission-driven and may be able to assist clients that struggle to access traditional financing.
What do I need to apply for a loan through Venturize and CRF?
- The application for the loan matching tool will only take about 10 minutes of your time. You will need basic financial information like the age of your business, your credit score and your business revenue. Check out our loan application checklist if you need more information about these criteria.
How much money can I apply for, and are there restrictions on how I can use the funds?
- Connect2Capital includes lenders that can make loans ranging from $500 to $4 million. The amount of funding available to you depends on your personal circumstances, the lender’s assessment of your ability to repay the loan and the amount the lender is able to lend.
Do I need to provide collateral?
- Not all lenders require collateral, so it depends on the type of loan and lender.
Do I have to be in business for two years to qualify for a loan?
- Not necessarily. Connect2Capital includes some community-based and microlenders that may not require a certain age of business.
What is predatory lending, and how do I know Venturize and CRF protect me from predatory lenders?
- There are increasingly faster and easier ways to borrow money online and from other alternative lenders, but not all of these actors offer safe lending options for small businesses. These lenders may not be transparent about the loan terms, and may charge high interest rates or fees. Venturize was created to help small businesses navigate online lending safely. That means we only work with vetted, reputable lenders that put entrepreneurs’ needs first and have a mission-driven goal to support small business owners.
What is the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights?
- Venturize is operated by Small Business Majority, which is a founding member of the Responsible Business Lending Coalition (RBLC). The RBLC has identified fundamental financing rights that all small businesses deserve, including the right to transparent terms and pricing, the right to non-abusive products, the right to responsible underwriting, the right to fair treatment from brokers, the right to inclusive credit access and the right to fair collection practices. Read more about the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights.
“My loan application/my account” questions:
Some of my personal information has changed. Can I edit my application?
- If your information has changed, you cannot edit your existing application. Please fill out a new application to see if your lender matching options have changed. As a reminder, filling out the Connect2Capital application on Venturize does not require a credit check.
I didn’t match with any lenders. What should I do?
- If you don’t match with any lenders, we still have resources to help you. Check out the educational tools and articles on our website to get help with your credit score, business plan and many other items. Additionally, Venturize and CRF partner with many business assistance providers that can offer training and consulting to improve your chances of receiving a loan. Find a local assistance provider in your area by visiting our Resource Providers Locator Map.
How do I contact Venturize for more help?
- For more information about Venturize or help with your application, please Contact Us here or email [email protected].