Black Equipment Finance Network Announces Formation

The Black Equipment Finance Network (BEFN) announced its formation as an organization tasked with increasing and elevating the participation of black equipment finance professionals in the industry. The networking group consists of management-level equipment finance professionals able to benefit directly from the BEFN’s mission and others seeking to collaborate. The BEFN has identified five areas of focus to pursue its mission, with a strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusion advocacy, mentoring and recruiting. At present, there are approximately 40 members of the organization.

“This past spring, a few black equipment finance veterans were discussing DEI initiatives within the industry, and we realized that none of us knew how many black professionals participate in the industry. In fact, most of us only knew a handful from various industry association events. Additionally, we discussed the fact that very few minority-owned firms participate in the equipment finance industry, an industry which now totals nearly $1 trillion in annual volume,” George Parker, co-CEO of VenSource Capital and president of the BEFN, said. “Based on this discussion and a few subsequent ones, we concluded that forming a networking group to meet one another, to collaborate on industry DEI efforts, to offer a platform for collaborating on business opportunities and to share information might make sense.”

The five areas of focus for the BEFN will be networking, professional development, DEI advocacy, the promotion of collaboration among members on business opportunities and giving back to the industry. Membership is open to management-level equipment finance professionals who might benefit directly from the BEFN’s mission and others involved in DEI and/or pursuing goals complementary to those of the BEFN.

Of the 40 or so current members, more than 30 represent companies, large and small, that are active in the industry, including several banks, captive finance firms, independents, service providers and brokers. To date, the BEFN has focused much of its attention on getting organized, including establishing a LinkedIn group, registering as a nonprofit entity, setting up bookkeeping and establishing a website. The organization has several activities in the pipeline, including a planned in-person networking event in collaboration with the National Equipment Finance Association at its spring conference in San Diego in March 2023.

“NEFA is excited about the new Black Equipment Finance Network and its mission,” Chad Sluss, CEO of the NEFA, said. “Several of the BEFN members are also members of NEFA and the organization’s mission dovetails with NEFA’s own DEI initiatives. We are looking forward to working with BEFN at our upcoming spring conference and collaborating with them on future activities.”

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