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Southern Bancorp’s Anthony Young Seeks Community Opportunities

3 min read

Anthony Young was named president of Southern Bancorp Community Partners in December.

A native of Louisville, Mississippi, Young most recently was the director of capital programs for Epicenter, a nonprofit focused on growing and supporting entrepreneurship in the Memphis area. Before that, he served as the economic development director at River City Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution loan fund providing access to capital in underserved communities in and around Memphis. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from the University of Mississippi.

In 2020, Young graduated from the Executive Class of Leadership Memphis and was selected as a Top 40 Under 40 by the Memphis Business Journal.

Explain how Southern Bancorp Community Partners, as a 501(c)(3) loan fund and Community Development Financial Institution, fosters entrepreneurship, particularly minority entrepreneurship.

Southern Bancorp Community Partners has a long history of deploying resources to financially underserved areas, including minority communities. As a development partner of Southern Bancorp, we’re often able to help minority entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground — from technical support and financial coaching to access to flexible capital.

We’re also regularly exploring new ways to support the minority entrepreneur space, such as a project in the works with Little Rock’s 50 for the Future called the Minority Business Empowerment Fund, which will specifically target minority businesses for support through both capital and technical assistance.

What are the tools that an institution like SBCP can use to help underserved communities that traditional financial institutions can’t?

As a CDFI loan fund, we have a flexibility that means we can go deeper and wider when reviewing loan candidates. Also, the financial development services we provide, such as credit and homebuyer counseling, act as a credit enhancement tool for small businesses and first-time borrowers. In fact, we’re able to partner with other community banks to support their efforts to reach minority and underserved communities by providing counseling and financial coaching as part of their own loan process.

Do you have a success story or two that you can share, either an SBCP story or one from your time at Epicenter?

From my time at Epicenter, I’m proud to have helped build an entrepreneurial environment in Memphis through which entrepreneurial service providers collaborate as opposed to working separately. This collaboration was put to work in developing initiatives that saw the city partner with major employers, education institutions and small businesses to increase access to capital, capacity and contracts to minority-owned firms in Memphis.

I was also proud to be part of an effort to help minority businesses pivot to new business lines both during and post-COVID to help them not only survive but thrive. One example was working with a Memphis business focused on city tasting tours, which took visitors around to several culinary hot spots. They pivoted post-COVID to create a “City Tasting Box” containing local products from the community, an idea that could readily be applied to Arkansas communities.

What was your biggest career mistake and what did you learn from it?

If I were to identify one lesson learned from the past it would be to follow my passions earlier. I’ve always known that I wanted a career in banking, but I also knew deep down that I wanted to have a deep impact. While my experiences have been invaluable, if I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be to listen to that voice earlier and become involved in the CDFI industry sooner.

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