Greg Smith got help from ACE for his business Westside Creamery.
Headquarters: Cleveland, Ga.
Number of loans: 87

Grace Fricks started ACE out of her house in Cleveland, Ga., in 1997. ''I had a whole other job, but to help my community, I thought, 'What can be so hard about [loaning] $50,000?' '' she said.

She and ACE have since graduated into a real office. The nonprofit has done $6.5 million in loans to clients, ranging from a one-woman housepainter to an organic diaper factory to a local icecream maker.

The lender disbursed 87 loans in 2008.

Two years ago, ACE created a ''green loan'' program that gives companies a better interest rate if they help the environment in some way. ''It was apparent there was going to be a green economy,'' said Fricks. And we said, '' 'we need to make sure our folks can participate in this.' ''

Source: The top 10 largest microlenders were taken from the U.S. Microenterprise Census, conducted in 2009 by FIELD at the Aspen Institute. The list , which is the most recent from the Institute, presents results based on the number of microloans (loans of $35,000 or less) disbursed by 362 U.S. microlenders throughout fiscal year 2008.
Last updated July 15 2011: 3:46 PM ET
Join the Conversation
10 most affordable cities to do business

Los Angeles is just one of 10 most affordable cities for doing business, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Partnership for New York City. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.