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We collect demographic information from both the applicant business owner, any co-owners, and any guarantors. Find out why we ask this information and how we define certain terms used in the application. 


Remember that you can choose to not provide any information by selecting “Decline to State” or “I do not wish to furnish this information” for any or all questions. However, please note that federal law requires lenders to identify applicant race, ethnicity, and gender based on visual observation and/or surname. If you decline to state these characteristics, our staff must identify you as mandated by law.


The following is provided as guidance to you for questions related to demographics. We encourage you to answer these questions in a way that is consistent with the below definitions.


Choose the option which most accurately reflects your gender from the provided categories.


Choose the option which most accurately reflects your race from the provided categories.


If you identify as having a Hispanic or Latino ethnic origin, select Hispanic.


If you were discharged from any branch of the US armed forces, select veteran. If you were discharged or released from active duty from any branch of the US armed forces due to a service-connected disability, select service-disabled veteran. If you are the spouse of an individual that was discharged from any branch of the US armed forces, select spouse of a veteran. If you are both the spouse of a veteran and a veteran yourself, select veteran.


If you identify as an individual with a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.


If you identify with one or more of the following orientations – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual. This includes if you identify with another not listed orientation which is broadly considered to be part of the LGTBQ+ community.


We’re committed to helping entrepreneurs start and grow small and medium-sized business ventures. The purpose of collecting this information is to help ensure that all applicants are treated fairly. Federal law requires that we ask applicants for their demographic information (ethnicity, sex, and race) in order to monitor our compliance with equal credit opportunity laws. Additionally, as a 501(c)3 nonprofit that relies partially on philanthropic support, we receive grant funds that require us to collect other types of information. You are not required to provide this information, but are encouraged to do so. The law provides that we may not discriminate on the basis of this information, or on whether you choose to provide it.


The information you provide enables Carolina Small Business Development Fund to report on the characteristics of the populations and communities we serve. Your answers on demographic questions will not influence our lending decision in any way. When legally or contractually required, this information is provided to government regulators and other organizations that fund Carolina Small Business. In most cases, information is provided at an aggregate level. If we are required to provide information at an individual level, data disclosures are not linked to any identifying characteristics. In no case will the demographic data you provide be associated with the business in a way that can be identified by third parties.

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