KY SBA Awards Community Ventures ‘Microlender Of The Year’ For 20th Consecutive Year
January 24, 2023

Community Ventures’ (CV) long-running success helping Kentucky entrepreneurs launch and grow small businesses has netted them both the 2022 Kentucky Small Business Association Microlender of the Year award and the Veteran Lender of the Year award, bestowed for making the most loans to veteran-run businesses. In addition, Miller Slaughter, CV’s Western Kentucky Business Development Specialist was awarded the Heavy Hitter award for closing the most microloans. Between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022, a total of 163 loans were sourced by Community Ventures. The awards were given at the Kentucky SBA Lenders Conference held on October 13th in Lexington.

Through SBA grants aimed at educating new entrepreneurs and those growing and expanding their businesses, Community Ventures’ microlending team provided 11,800+ hours of pre- and post-loan technical assistance to small business owners over the past year. In addition to teaching aspiring business owners business fundamentals, a significant amount of time is spent helping clients access federal Covid Relief funding aimed at helping small businesses mitigate the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

The microlending team is headed up by Lew Whalen, Vice President of Lending for Community Ventures. But Whalen insists that the success of the microlending program is due to the dedication of his team of business development specialists. The team assists clients in urban and rural areas of Kentucky from offices located in Lexington, Louisville, Owensboro, Campbellsville and most recently Bowling Green. While CV is headquartered in Lexington, a Louisville lending office is located inside the Chef Space building located at 1812 Muhammad Ali Blvd.

“Technical assistance is the bulk of the business development specialists’ jobs. They help our clients navigate the challenges of starting and running a small business,” explained Whalen. “They teach them how to develop a business plan. They help them understand legal issues and technology, and access programs and resources.

“Many of the people that come to us are those that can’t get credit through the banks, typically because of their credit score or lack of collateral. Our people help with both financial literacy and credit rebuilding, in short to make the client “bankable.” We partner with the Women’s Business Center, SCORE, Small Business Development Center and others. My team is very good at what they do, as evidenced by these awards. We would like to thank the Kentucky SBA for their recognition, as well as the funding that makes it possible for us to serve Kentucky entrepreneurs.”

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For more information about the work SBA enables Community Ventures to facilitate, please contact Lew Whalen, Vice President of Lending at (859) 231-0054 or lwhalen@cvky.org.

About Community Ventures

Founded in 1982, Community Ventures is a community-based, non-profit organization that exists to improve the quality of life for urban and rural residents throughout Kentucky. CV helps people increase income and build assets with three main strategies: small business ownership, home ownership, and job creation through business expansion. CV is headquartered in Lexington with branch offices in Campbellsville, Louisville, Millersburg, Bowling Green, Mayfield and Owensboro.