Community Dividend

CDFI Fund names AEO its Innovation Challenge winner

Published February 25, 2016

The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) has won the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund’s 2015 Innovation Challenge, according to an announcement by the U.S. Department of the Treasury late last year. The CDFI Fund issued the Innovation Challenge in May 2015 in order to seek new ways to expand or increase investments in underserved communities. The Innovation Challenge prize is a one-year contract to finance the development of a method, model, tool, or product that can be used by all CDFIs in the future. AEO, which is a national trade association for microbusiness and microfinance, was selected from a pool of competitors for its proposal to develop a tool that will enable small business lenders to refer potential borrowers to CDFIs. The tool will help ensure that entrepreneurs who show promise but do not meet the lending criteria of mainstream banks or online lenders will be connected to CDFIs that might be a better fit for their needs.