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Cadence Bank and ACE believe everyone deserves an equal opportunity to succeed in business. Yet many underserved communities lack the necessary financial resources. Learn more about how Cadence Bank partners with ACE to provide support to Georgia entrepreneurs.

Cadence Bank and ACE | Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs share a common objective—helping small businesses thrive. Keep reading to learn how Cadence Bank partners with ACE to provide support to Georgia entrepreneurs. ACE operates Georgia’s largest small business community development fund. For over 20 years, the nonprofit has been providing small business capital to entrepreneurs from underserved communities.

In June 2022, Cadence Bank announced a $15,000 contribution to ACE. This contribution will be used to provide capital and coaching to small business owners across the state.

“Our relationship with ACE allows us to better serve the needs of our communities,” says David Berdugo, Atlanta market president at Cadence Bank. “We’re proud to play a role in the impact ACE is making here in Georgia.”

ACE steps in where others can’t

Since its inception in 1997, ACE has provided over $145 million in financial assistance to 2,200+ small businesses. The organization serves 68 Georgia counties, including all of metropolitan Atlanta and North Georgia.

Berdugo explains that Cadence Bank’s relationship with ACE dates back years. Small business bankers at Cadence often refer customers to ACE when the bank is not able to provide them with a loan.

“Sometimes we run into situations where under traditional credit standards, we aren’t able to provide a customer with the capital they need,” Berdugo says. “Because ACE is a certified Community Development Financial Institution, or CDFI, it is able to serve customers that might not qualify for a loan at a traditional bank.”

“ACE gives entrepreneurs a chance where others can’t,” says John “JJ” Jackson, Atlanta division president at Cadence Bank. “The loans ACE provides give people a vehicle for turning their ideas into reality.”

Spencer Strickland, Georgia regional president at Cadence Bank, adds, “Our contribution to ACE shows that it’s not about us and our ability to service new loans—it’s about helping our clients no matter what their circumstances are.”

Ongoing support for small business owners

In addition to funding, ACE provides coaching and networking opportunities for business owners throughout the lifetime of their loans. ACE’s Business Advisory Services (BAS) program is designed to help loan clients strengthen and grow their businesses. This program consists of one-on-one coaching sessions as well as self-guided learning on topics such as finance, marketing, management and more.

“The Business Advisory Services program is a great example of how ACE goes the extra mile for its clients,” says Berdugo. “The counselors at ACE make sure that their clients not only have access to the capital they need, but that they understand how to put that capital to work.”

Focusing on underserved populations

ACE primarily serves entrepreneurs from underserved groups. As of 2022, approximately 70% of the organization’s current loans were deployed to people of color, 51% to women, and 34% to people from low- or moderate-income communities.

Through its loan programs and additional services, ACE strives to decrease gender and racial wealth gaps in Georgia.

“Organizations like ACE foster diversity in the communities they serve,” says Berdugo. “ACE helps lay the foundation for individuals who ordinarily wouldn’t have the resources to start their own businesses.”

Creating job opportunities for Georgia communities

By helping Georgia entrepreneurs grow their businesses, ACE is fueling significant job generation. Since its founding, ACE estimates that its services have helped create or save 17,000+ jobs.

“By partnering with ACE, we’re able to support job creation in the city of Atlanta and in Georgia at large,” says Jackson. “With ACE providing business owners capital, it keeps people employed, makes the community stronger, safer and allows everyone to work together.”

John added, “When small businesses can keep the lights on, it gives people more opportunities to shop local. It’s a ripple effect that keeps the economy going.”

Joined by common values

The partnership between Cadence Bank and ACE is a natural fit, as the two organizations have many similarities. “Cadence Bank and ACE have a common purpose—helping our Georgia communities thrive and grow,” says Strickland.

Jackson adds, “Our values are aligned to support the betterment of our communities. There’s so much synergy between ACE and Cadence.”

To learn more about how we’re helping people, companies and communities prosper, visit our Stories page.


This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.

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