2021 Newsmaker: Eric Foster

135

Eric Foster

Co-founder, Chair, Managing Director

Rende Progress Capital

Rende Progress Capital (RPC) made headlines in 2021 for its programs, partnerships and lending.

After establishing the RACE4Progress COVID-19 relief loan fund in 2020, RPC throughout the year provided loans from the fund to West Michigan businesses including Applause Catering + Events, Lee Tailors, Taylor’s Home Care, DJ Blaze LLC and Mosby’s Popcorn.

In April, RPC partnered with Miller Johnson to offer free legal services to RPC loan customers as part of the law firm’s Project Giveback.

RPC in June launched a pilot course, the Pre-Loan Readiness and Incubator Program, with support from Fifth Third Bank and the U.S. Treasury Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund. The program was designed to teach entrepreneurs how to qualify for financing through counseling in financial principles, business planning assistance and feedback from RPC on mock loan applications.

Foster said the loan readiness program was envisioned five years ago during his research before starting the firm, when he listened to excluded entrepreneurs of color as they shared “their narratives and frustrations with the bias and market barriers to accessing conventional loans.”

RPC in 2021 also created the Reduced Interest Schedule for Excellence (RISE) standard loan program, which reduces the annual interest rate for borrowers who make on-time payments, and from it funded Taxes at Tiffany’s and Soldadera Coffee. Daddy’s Dough Cookies was another of RPC’s standard loan customers in 2021.

In October, RPC received $125,000 in CDFI funding to continue technical assistance programs.

RPC in September and December added two more partners to the firm: Janiece Norfleet and Elisa Starnes.

Facebook Comments