Wells Fargo announces Small Business Neighborhood Renovation Program

Company introduces contest to help renovate three Baltimore small businesses in an effort to improve low-income neighborhoods.

Published: April 18, 2016

BALTIMORE, April 18, 2016 – Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC), is introducing the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business®: Neighborhood Renovation Program, designed to help improve eligible Baltimore small businesses through a business renovation contest. Wells Fargo is launching the program in collaboration with the National Urban League, a civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment; Rebuilding Together Baltimore, a premier nonprofit housing organization; and Gensler, a global architecture, design, and planning firm.

Through the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Neighborhood Renovation Program, eligible Baltimore small business owners will have the opportunity to compete in a contest in which three finalists will each win up to $10,000 to renovate their businesses and will receive workshops and training from the Greater Baltimore Urban League's Entrepreneurship Center Program. Gensler will collaborate with the three finalists to make physical renovations to the interior or exterior of their businesses.

To enter the contest, which runs from April 15 – May 15, eligible small business owners must respond to essay questions about their business. A panel of judges in June will name three finalists to have their businesses renovated.  From the three finalists, judges will select the best business renovation design, and the winner will be announced on Aug. 1. The winner will receive a reception at their business.  The public will also get to vote for the best renovation design, and the winner of the public vote will be announced on Aug. 6 at the National Urban League's annual conference in Baltimore.

"Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do at Wells Fargo, and we know how important it is to help small businesses succeed in our local communities," said Andy Bertamini, Maryland Region President at Wells Fargo. "Wells Fargo has a long history of community partnerships in Baltimore, and through the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Neighborhood Renovation Program we are able to continue helping our economy and community thrive."

Wells Fargo serves approximately 3 million small business owners across the United States and loans more money to America's small businesses than any other bank (2002-2014 CRA government data). To help more small businesses achieve financial success, in 2014 Wells Fargo introduced Wells Fargo Works for Small Business® – a broad initiative to deliver resources, guidance and services for business owners – and a goal to extend $100 billion in new lending to small businesses by 2018.

"Small businesses are really the key to addressing urban unemployment," National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. "Encouraging entrepreneurship and creating an environment for small businesses to thrive is one of the National Urban League's top priorities. We're proud to partner with Wells Fargo for this innovative program."

Bonnie Bessor, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Baltimore, said, "Rebuilding Together Baltimore is thrilled to be working with these great partners on such a meaningful project.  Small businesses are an integral part of Baltimore's neighborhoods. This project will build upon the neighborhood revitalization work we have been doing in Baltimore since 1989."

"Gensler is thrilled to be partnering with Wells Fargo, the National Urban League, and Rebuilding Together Baltimore on this meaningful initiative," said Elaine Asal, Gensler senior associate and design strategist. "We look forward to collaborating with the three finalists of the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business® Neighborhood Renovation Program to find ways for design to help positively impact their businesses and surrounding communities."

The launch of the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business: Neighborhood Renovation Program coincides with Wells Fargo's Small Business Appreciation Celebration, which runs April 1 – June 30. This annual event, which starts before the U.S. Small Business Administration's National Small Business Week in May, highlights the accomplishments of small businesses and provides business owners with special offers on several products and services, including Wells Fargo's Business Platinum Credit Card, Merchant Services, Business Payroll Services, Wells Fargo BusinessLoan® term loan, Equipment Express® loan, Business Lines of Credit, Business Real Estate Financing and Practice Finance.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune's 2015 rankings of America's largest corporations. Wells Fargo's vision is to satisfy our customers' financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.