Black women owned contractor receives PPP loan from BBIF Florida

BBIF Client Spotlight: Kingdom Communications

Kingdom Communications LLC is a black women-owned company that specializes in low voltage data communications and video surveillance installation with a client base that spans across various industries and includes companies such as the NBA, City of Orlando and the Amway Center.

CEO Phylisa Dever has incorporated her strong work ethic to “do business with integrity and good character.” For over 15 years, Kingdom Communications LLC has taken pride in its commitment to develop cost-effective networks for each and every business it serves.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, business was good. Dever had two major companies that kept her team busy with work that required travel across the United States. But with the spread of COVID-19, Kingdom Communications LLC saw its nationwide travel come to a halt as shelter-in-place restrictions became widespread across the nation. Being considered an essential business couldn’t protect Kingdom Communications LLC from the financial pitfalls of the pandemic. Limited demand forced Dever to reduce office staff hours as she carefully monitored the gradual depletion of cash reserves. 

The COVID-19 Shut Down Puts Additional Pressure on Kingdom Communications

The pandemic has uncovered a number of economic inequalities. along racial lines. Limited access to capital—whether from investments or bank loans—is the primary reason black and minority small business owners have little or no cash reserves on hand. Historically, black business owners have been denied loans by national funders more than any other racial group, according to Federal Reserve data. Additionally, the number of African-American business owners plummeted from 1.1 million in February 2020 to 640,000 in April, according to a recent study by the University of California at Santa Cruz. That’s a 41% drop in black-owned businesses in the U.S compared to the 17% of white business owners who closed their doors.

Desperate to meet payroll for her employees, Dever reached out to her bank to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan created under the CARES Act and administered by the Small Business Administration. Unfortunately, the relationship Dever cultivated through the years with her bank was not enough for her to be considered and her request for the emergency funds was never addressed.

CEO of Kingdom Communications Turns to BBIF Florida to Process PPP Loan

Dever, a longtime client with BBIF Florida, turned to the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which specializes in bridging the gap between black, minority, and underserved businesses, and the money they need to reach their economic potential. As of May 31, 2020, BBIF Florida had provided $5.4 Million in PPP loans to underserved businesses. BBIF Florida was there to guide Dever through the PPP loan application process. After successfully receiving a PPP loan, she was able to meet her payroll requirements and save five staff positions.

“BBIF and the PPP loan have positively impacted my business because I was able to keep my payroll running and I didn’t have to lay anyone off. BBIF Florida really cares and tries very hard to make sure that their clients learn the skills they need to take them to the next level.” -Phylisa Dever, CEO of Kingdom Communications, LLC

Black owned security agency receives critical aid with a PPP loan through BBIF Florida

About Fidelity Security Agency

At Fidelity Security Agency, CEO Michael Williams has two goals. First, provide highly trained security professionals to protect client assets from criminal acts. Second, show his utmost appreciation and recognition to his valued employees.

Fidelity Security Agency, a black owned business, was undergoing an exciting expansion. After 13 years of operation, the company was looking to secure more accounts in the hotel industry. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it caused clients to retreat. Several were unable to pay for continued service and past services went unpaid. Once the cash flow stopped, expansion plans ceased and cash reserves dwindled. 

Facing Economic Uncertainty

Like Williams, many black and minority-owned business owners have found themselves vulnerable during the COVID-19 lockdown. Limited access to credit, investments and bank loans are underlying factors that have often prevented black and minority-owned small businesses from reaching financial goals. They are also more likely to operate in  the service industries, which have been directly hit by the pandemic. 

Williams knew he had to do everything in his power to protect his dedicated employees. But when he requested a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan from his bank, he could not reach a lender to process his application. 

Back in April, when the PPP was starting to take applications, experts reported roughly 95% of black-owned businesses had little or no chance of obtaining a PPP loan through a national lender because many were only working with existing clients to speed up the approval process. While some national lenders were prioritizing larger loan applications to help maximize their own profits. This prevented women and minority-owned small businesses with fewer employees from applying for the PPP loan because the value of their loans would be smaller than the loans sought by white male-owned businesses. 

Responding to Economic Crisis

That’s when Williams reached out to BBIF Florida for help. BBIF Florida is a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to provide capital and training to black, minority, and underserved small businesses.

BBIF Florida walked Williams through the PPP loan process and helped him navigate the eligibility requirements. After securing a PPP loan, Williams was able to save 37 jobs at Fidelity Security Agency and continue to provide excellent service to his clients. 

“The PPP loan was a breath of fresh air for my organization. The peace of mind that my employees will be able to receive their paychecks on time was everything I could ask for. Big thanks to the BBIF team, who answered all of our concerns regarding the PPP loan process.” -Michael Williams, CEO of Fidelity Security Agency, LLC

 

Photos of some of members of the Fidelity Security Team at work.

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