Small Business Services offering new loans for M/WBE

The new low-interest loans are being offered through the Department of Small Business Services

The Department of Small Business Services is offering new low-interest loans to give minority and women-owned businesses access to much-needed capital.

The loans, which are available up to $500,000 for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises, include flexible repayment schedules to help these businesses access capital and grow their businesses, according to Richard Buery, citywide director of M/WBEs.

Buery and First Lady Chirlane McCray also announced a streamlined application for M/WBE certification and a more accessible and user-friendly application process for small businesses owned and operated by one person. Across the country 90 percent of sole proprietors are women, city officials said.

“In order to create a 50–50 world, we need to create a 50–50 economy. The tools we are announcing today will help women who are entrepreneurs in New York City go from getting by to becoming business owners on their own terms,” McCray said. “Through the Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, we are unleashing one of our city’s greatest resources — the talent of thousands of women who need a little support to turn their savvy and fierce work ethic into successful companies.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio first announced the loans last September as part of the creation of a Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs. Other initiatives of the vision include increasing accessibility for minority and women business owners seeking to do business with the city, officials said. De Blasio’s office said the low-interest loans, plus the streamlined application process, would make it easier for more M/WBEs to win and successfully perform city contracts.

“Providing low-interest loans and streamlining the application process are two significant steps forward for M/WBEs participating in the city’s procurement process,” said Jonnel Doris, senior advisor and director of the Mayor’s Office of M/WBEs. “This loan fund will help improve access to capital for M/WBEs and small city contractors, which will increase their ability to successfully win and compete for city contracts. These M/WBEs and small contractors will now have the proper resources they need to expand their portfolio of work to grow and sustain their businesses.”

De Blasio’s goal is to award 30 percent of the value of city contracts to M/WBEs by 2021, to award $16 billion to M/WBEs by 2025, and to certify 9,000 M/WBEs by 2019.

The loans will be capped at a 3 percent annual interest rate. Repayment schedules will be timed to align with city contract repayment schedules, officials said.

M/WBEs and other small city contractors will be eligible to apply for a contract financing loan that can help businesses successfully perform on a contract, including purchasing equipment and hiring employees. Loans from this fund are available to prime and sub-contractors that are bidding on or performing a contract with a city agency or the city Economic Development Corp.

The Contract Financing Loan Fund is a revolving loan fund, allowing for a continuous supply of funding for additional borrowers. Paired with capacity building programs offered by SBS, this fund will help M/WBEs and small businesses grow and better compete for larger contracts, officials said.

“Our city reaches its greatest socioeconomic potential when every New Yorker, regardless of race, gender or ethnicity, has the tools and support they need to succeed in our economy,” de Blasio said. “With these new initiatives, we are ensuring that all New Yorkers have the means they need to thrive.”

Businesses interested in receiving a contract financing loan can visit nyc.gov/contractfinancing to apply online. A participating lender will follow up with eligible businesses. Participating lenders include BOC Capital, Inc., TruFund Financial Services and Excelsior Growth Fund.