Bank of America Supercharges The DEC Network Mission with $120K for Entrepreneurs of Color Fund

Formally known as the Entrepreneur of Color Credit Enhancement Fund, the program will provide loan guarantees and loan-readiness assistance to growth-oriented businesses.

The DEC Network just got a big boost for its initiative to help local entrepreneurs of color in Dallas-Fort Worth, thanks to a $120,000 grant from Bank of America. The partnership aims to help folks in the region with great business ideas who might not have the opportunities or resources to get them off the ground.

The DEC Network’s new Entrepreneur of Color Credit Enhancement Fund aims to provide crucial financial support to growth-oriented businesses. Slated for launch in the third quarter of 2024, the fund will offer loan guarantees and loan-readiness assistance to businesses owned by entrepreneurs of color. The funding from Bank of America is slated for technical assistance to support the program.

More details about the fund will be announced in the company months, a spokesperson for the nonprofit DEC Network said. 

Jennifer Chandler

Jennifer Chandler, the Dallas president of Bank of America, says The DEC Network has an innovative approach to fostering entrepreneurship, especially in communities that have traditionally been underserved.

“The DEC Network has a remarkable ability to think creatively and strategically about entrepreneur development, especially for our under-resourced communities,” Chandler said in a statement.

Chandler says Bank of America’s mission and resources, together with The DEC’s comprehensive approach to entrepreneur support, is an “opportunity to witness dreams come to life.”

Bank of America said its philanthropic endeavors in North Texas are part of a broader commitment to fostering economic mobility and improving the financial well-being of communities. With a track record of providing $27 million to various organizations across North Texas since 2018, the bank continues to stand as a beacon of support for positive change, it said. 

In an announcement, Chandler says the bank has “believed in The DEC vision since the beginning, and we look forward to seeing how the Entrepreneur of Color Credit Enhancement Fund enriches our business environment.”

The DEC Network CEO, Bill Chinn, says the nonprofit organization wants to help every entrepreneur have a fair shot at success, regardless of their starting point. Chinn emphasizes the importance of collaboration in addressing the community’s needs.

“Together, we are determined to address the pressing needs of our community, especially in these ever-evolving economic landscapes,” Chinn said in the announcement, noting the critical role of charitable grants and fundraising in sustaining nonprofit initiatives like those of The DEC Network.

Bill Chinn

The DEC Network, known for its dedication to supporting entrepreneurs in Dallas-Fort Worth through their business journeys, views the Entrepreneur of Color Credit Enhancement Fund as a cornerstone initiative aimed at bridging disparities in resource access and promoting economic inclusivity.

Evelyn Solozano, small business community officer at Bank of America, was a key figure in the establishment of the fund, according to The DEC Network. Solozano, a long-time partner of the nonprofit, played an integral role on the Entrepreneur of Color Credit Enhancement Fund task force.

Evelyn Solozano, small business community officer at Bank of America, spoke at The DEC Network’s State of Entrepreneurship 2023 event last March. [Photo: The DEC Network]

The DEC Network, formerly known as the Dallas Entrepreneur Center, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing and supporting the entrepreneurial community in Dallas-Fort Worth. Founded in 2013, The DEC Network provides a range of resources for startups and entrepreneurs, including co-working space, training and mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and access to funding.

The Dallas-based nonprofit aims to drive economic growth and job creation by fostering a vibrant ecosystem where entrepreneurs can thrive. Through its various initiatives and partnerships, it works to support entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey, from ideation to scale.

The story was updated on Monday, Feb. 5, at 1:52 p.m. to clarify fund program details, including the fund’s full name, Entrepreneur of Color Credit Enhancement Fund, and its anticipated launch timeframe. It also notes Evelyn Solozano’s role on the program task force, based on new information from The DEC Network.

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