ORLANDO, Fla – 09/13/19– One of the greatest contributors to the failure of any start-up organization is a lack of funding to help get the business off the ground. And yet, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that small businesses comprise more than 99 percent of America’s 28.7 million firms. A similar message resounded from Xavier Ramey, CEO of the social impact consulting firm Justice Informed and keynote speaker at last Thursday’s Black Business Investment Fund of Florida (BBIF) annual partner luncheon. In his remarks, entitled “The Road to Economic Justice, For Black and Brown Communities,” Ramey emphasized the importance of the business community rising up to lend a hand to minority-owned businesses.
Also as part of the luncheon, attendees heard from representatives of Wells Fargo and SunTrust banks about their roles in supporting the BBIF, a mission-driven lender and business development organization that helps communities thrive by providing loan capital for African-Americans, other minorities and underserved businesses by creating opportunities for low-income communities through real estate investments.
In fact, the Wells Fargo Foundation announced it had awarded a $500,000 grant to BBIF in support of diverse small businesses. The grant is part of the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital (DDC) program, which offers capital and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses as a way to create local jobs and strengthen neighborhoods. This $500,000 investment will help to support BBIF’s statewide growth and expansion plans. Specifically, the funds will be used to create a Construction Assistance Center to propel minority entrepreneurs in the booming construction industry in several areas throughout the state.
“This recently announced grant represents a continuation of the Wells Fargo Foundation’s ongoing commitment to support diverse communities as well as black and minority businesses throughout Florida,” stated Inez Long, president and CEO of BBIF. “This new investment will provide BBIF the resources necessary to better respond to the needs of our client-base, providing specific training resources that they need to scale their businesses and create additional jobs.”
“BBIF Florida is deeply embedded in the community and has the skill to deliver personalized coaching, services, and capital to minority small-business owners,” said BBIF Florida Board Member and Wells Fargo Florida and Southeast Community Relations Senior Manager Marilyn Drayton. “Together, we can help more diverse entrepreneurs reach their full potential and stimulate job creation in the process. We know that working with CDFIs is an effective way to put more small businesses on a path to financial success.”
In addition, SunTrust Community Capital, a subsidiary of SunTrust Banks, Inc., announced at the luncheon that it would be providing a $1 million low-interest loan to BBIF. The loan will go towards capitalizing well-established BBIF Florida small business loan programs that are then made available to privately-owned and minority-owned businesses located across the state
“BBIF Florida is a real agent of change in Florida’s communities. Their dynamic approach of coupling training with affordable lending has helped community members across the state start businesses that have thrived, while employing thousands of Floridians. We are proud to further our relationship with BBIF Florida and look forward to seeing their continued success,” said Sandy Hostetter, Orlando Market president of SunTrust.
Over 30 years, BBIF Florida has issued more than 400 loans, totaling $47.6 million, to support the creation of nearly 13,000 jobs. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, Florida ranks among the top states for minority-owned businesses.
“SunTrust has been an organizational investor for over 31 years. This investment serves as a new opportunity to impact more black and minority small businesses throughout Florida” added Long.
About BBIF Florida
BBIF Florida is a mission-driven lender and business development organization that helps communities thrive by providing loan capital for African Americans, other minorities and underserved businesses by creating opportunities for low-income communities through real estate investments. The key to BBIF’s success has been a deep sense of purpose, a broad perspective, and a consistent focus on achieving positive results. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., BBIF is Florida’s largest statewide small business lender that specializes in providing capital for minority and underserved businesses. Since 1988, BBIF has provided over $48 million in loans to more than 434 businesses and leveraged $132 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) community investments. BBIF is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, Community Development Enterprise (CDE) and New Markets Tax Credit Allocation. BBIF is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Community Advantage “Delegated” Lender and Micro Loan Lender, by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as a Money Smart Small Business Collaborator and is a member of the prestigious Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national membership group of CDFIs, as well as the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), a national membership group of microenterprise financers. BBIF is an equal opportunity provider. In addition to providing simplified capital solutions, BBIF Florida assists business clients by providing financial technical assistance services. An intensive management capacity training service, the Financial Training Academy helps business owners to successfully manage and meet their business challenges, maximizing profits and creating/retaining jobs. The entrepreneurial spirit of our clients drives our passion for the work we do, breaking down barriers and strengthening businesses in the markets we serve. For more information, visit https://bbifflorida.com/
About Wells Fargo Works For Small Business
Launched in 2015, the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program operates in collaboration with the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). According to OFN’s latest report, DCC awardees have already made more than 16,000 loans to diverse small business owners resulting in $785 million in lending across 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In addition, grant funding has provided for more than 322,000 hours of development services for over 49,000 diverse entrepreneurs. Wells Fargo is on track to invest more than $175 million in diverse small businesses growth through 2020.
About SunTrust Banks, Inc.
SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is a purpose-driven company dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the people, businesses, and communities it serves. SunTrust leads onUp, a national movement inspiring Americans to build financial confidence. Headquartered in Atlanta, the Company has two business segments: Consumer and Wholesale. Its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, along with 24-hour digital access. Certain business lines serve consumer, commercial, corporate, and institutional clients nationally. As of June 30, 2019, SunTrust had total assets of $222 billion and total deposits of $161 billion. The Company provides deposit, credit, trust, investment, mortgage, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services. Learn more at suntrust.com.