IFEL partners with TruFund Financial Services to help BIPOC-owned businesses acquire commercial property

The Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership, a Newark-based nonprofit organization that works to eradicate the systemic barriers that prevent people from historically excluded populations from being able to build wealth through entrepreneurship, on Thursday announced a partnership with TruFund Financial Services to help entrepreneurs of color generate wealth through commercial real estate ownership.

The TruFund Real Estate Acquisition Program will initially be offered in TruFund’s identified service areas in northern New Jersey, New York, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

TruFund launched RAP to provide businesses with a way to reduce operational risk, promote business stability and open a new pathway to wealth creation for business owners who have historically been shut out from real estate ownership.

IFEL will leverage its community of nearly 800 volunteer professionals to help business owners address issues and barriers that may impede their ability to successfully apply for a RAP loan.

“Real estate ownership can be transformative for small business owners. It brings stability, mitigates the potential for displacement and allows a business to take greater control of its physical assets to improve operations and capacity,” James Bason, CEO and president of TruFund Financial Services, said. “We are excited to offer first-of-its-kind products for the communities we serve, and we have found an excellent partner in IFEL.”

For any business, rising rents and costly property improvements can pose a significant challenge, with some investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property they don’t own. TruFund’s RAP offers a solution, with a primary first mortgage of up to 90% of property purchase price and the option to add a subordinated loan of up to 5% of a property purchase.

“We’re thrilled to partner with TruFund and look forward to supporting entrepreneurs navigate the challenging real estate market,” IFEL co-founder and CEO Jill Johnson said. “Real estate adds immense value to an enterprise and we’re encouraged to see the benefits of ownership being discussed in the small business arena.”