Rende (The full value of people. To give back. Be profitable. Return.)
Progress (Forward or onward movement toward a destination.)
Capital (Assets, such as cash and funds.)
Rende Progress Capital
Rende: We respect Excluded Entrepreneurs who need opportunities for their business. Progress: We help them achieve economic security for themselves, their families and communities. Capital: As an alternative and mission-oriented lender we create that progress through loans and investments to business owners of diverse backgrounds.
The Mission: Rende Progress Capital (RPC) is committed to economic equity. RPC was founded by two leaders experienced in racial equity and inclusion who are committed to helping those excluded from traditional financing and lending.
The Process and Difference: Through attention to social and racial inequity data, RPC was created to provide socially responsible and affordable lending and investments to Excluded Entrepreneurs—business owners of diverse ethnic backgrounds who have been excluded from traditional lending and investing opportunities for a variety of socio-economic reasons and bias. RPC uses our innovative racial equity system in our lending decisions.
Racial equity also guides our partnership agreements and hiring policies. We appreciate foundations and individual investors who are motivated by supporting diverse businesses, socially equitable outcomes and return on their investments.
Services and Opportunities: RPC provides loans, investments as well as business technical assistance and venture capital boot-camps to our customers. For borrowers interested in our loans and services, please learn more about us.
1. We serve: The Excluded Entrepreneur.
They are promising. They persevere. Excluded Entrepreneurs are African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American and Immigrants persevering through the combination of racial exclusion in some traditional lending. They are, have been or perceived themselves to be excluded from traditional loans and investments from financial institutions based on a variety of social factors and racial bias.
2. Financing Approval through Racial Equity sm
RPC provides loans through a combination of traditional loan approval criteria merged with our FAREsm system (Financing Approval through Racial Equity). This internal system is used to establish character criteria for a borrower and is used to provide important information and loan decisions that traditional lenders cannot and do not use.
3. Lending Area
The RPC lending and investment area is Michigan [specifically Grand Rapids] at this time with expansion to other areas to follow at future dates. The lending areas has been affirmed by data and insight from Excluded Entrepreneurs.
Eric K. Foster,
Co-founder, Chair and
Rende Progress Capital (RPC) is a mission-driven lender of loans and investor to Excluded Entrepreneurs who face social and financial barriers to acquiring traditional loans and investments because of bias and racial inequity. In addition to providing loans and investments, RPC also provides technical assistance in business training and venture capital advice to our clients.
See Founders section on this website for more on Eric K. Foster and Cuong Huynh: Eric and Cuong are both former W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellows. During their time at a fellowship session in Mississippi, they learned about their mutual passion for economic equity and family economic security for all people. As Cuong learned more about Eric’s fellowship project work, activities and focus in CDFI management to support entrepreneurs and eliminate the racial wealth gap, they both formalized their partnership to create RPC.
It has been their dream to support the many entrepreneurs that they heard stories from about being excluded from conventional lending opportunities. Eric is a serial entrepreneur and socially responsible businessman. Cuong is a seasoned finance professional fueled with the optimism of a better life that sustained him in arriving to the U.S. from Vietnam as a refugee.
Co-founder and General Manager
Staff: Operations, Business Development and Lending
Business Development Director for Opportunity
John Hendershot is the RPC Business Development Director for Opportunity, and is responsible for developing Excluded Entrepreneurs for business technical assistance/pre-loan readiness services and cultivating them as potential customers for RPC loans and investments. He brings to RPC a passion and background in business development and banking to help entrepreneurs prosper in their businesses.
John’s RPC responsibilities is guided by his past experience that includes Chief Executive Officer at DIG-IT where he also managed business development projects and coaching of employees. He also served as Vice President of Finance at Partners Relief & Development, managed his own Leadership Development Consultancy to assist start-up owners and worked as Managing Partner of a company where he managed the design, development and marketing of a variety of products.
John is a frequent writer and author of books, blogs and social media features on socially responsible business practices and leadership. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University and holds a Master of Science in Management and Master of Business Administration from Cornerstone University.
Associate Partner for Portfolio and Finance
Janiece Norfleet is the RPC Associate Partner for Portfolio and Finance and is responsible for managing the processes, policies and procedures [pre-loan application, loan consideration, post-loan approval and loan monitoring] of the RPC loan portfolio for quality control, due diligence and sound loan performance. In addition, Ms. Norfleet coordinates with the General Manager on finance and budget in lending and organizational matters.
Ms. Norfleet brings to RPC experience in Community Development Financial Institution [CDFI] management, alternative lending, program management, financial advising and operational risk management. She also brings to RPC leadership and management skills as a CEO of a startup CDFI, Union Baptist Church Federal Credit Union in Fort Wayne, IN, that is benefitting from her build out of a teller team, lending services and innovative loan products for its members. Ms. Norfleet also served as a HUD Certified Housing Counselor at the Fort Wayne Urban League.
A graduate of Howard University's School of Business, Ms. Norfleet also worked as a CFO and Program Director at Joshua's Hand, an organization focused on financial literacy services, home ownership assistance and education to help residents start a path to self-sufficiency. She also worked in Washington, D.C. at Fannie Mae in human resources, operations and technology and operational risk management. She is a native of Grand Rapids, MI.
Elisa Starnes [Photo Pending]
Associate Partner for Lending Opportunity and Administration
Elisa Starnes is the RPC Associate Partner for Lending Opportunity and Administration and is responsible for managing RPC's full small business lending processes and procedures. As the RPC loan officer lead, Ms. Starnes leads RPC's work in small business loan origination, underwriting, recommending RPC business loan applicants, conducting loan application management, analysis, direct loan servicing with customers and some new loan customer cultivation.
In addition, based on her experience in facilitating quality control processes and systems for credit union customers and staff, Ms. Starnes manages RPC lending processes and assists the RPC Managing Director with quality control of loan---and some organizational---administrative systems.
Ms. Starnes brings eight years of experience in the areas of commercial lending, business loan development, member services, loan account management, customer service, new client development and loan product outreach from her time with the United Federal Credit Union in St. Joseph, MI, Comerica Bank and 1st Source Bank. In addition to her technical work at the credit union on developing loans, Ms. Starnes also has been a leader in the people-focused and customer relations aspects of loan matters through her positions as a Member Services Advisor and Customer Service Representative.
She is a native of Kalamazoo, MI.