For Brooklyn’s smallest businesses, a lending lifeline
The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is providing micro loans up to $25,000 to small businesses that don’t qualify for commercial loans, including to certified “minority-and-women-owned businesses,” the chamber president announced on Tuesday.
The chamber’s Brooklyn Alliance Capital Loan Fund has issued 18 loans with a backing of $25,000 from the chamber since 2017. The new program was awarded $125,000 from the federal government, at least 65 percent to be used for “minority-and-women-owned businesses” (MWBEs) in Brooklyn.
“This funding will allow us to jumpstart our micro lending program targeted exclusively to small businesses in Brooklyn who cannot readily access commercial loans,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Randy Peers.
Peers announced the program on the top floor of the Beard Street Warehouses in Red Hook, where Amber Lasciak, a 2017 loan recipient, operates her business RENU NYC.
When RENU – a furniture manufacturing company that repurposes materials before they enter landfills – received its $5,000 loan, their old shop had just been destroyed by Superstorm Sandy.
“We were in a very particular time, we had gone through Hurricane Sandy and could not get a regular loan,” Lasciak said. “I was awarded a loan by the chamber right when I needed it the most.”
The micro loans range from $500 to $25,000 with the average loan about $1,200. The funds can help provide new and existing businesses the means to rent retail space, hire employees or otherwise invest in their companies.
Kern Grant, president of ALG Painting, a residential and commercial painting contractor, also received one of the initial loans and invested in new equipment that boosted his business.
“I would recommend all small business in New York City to get in contact with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce,” Grant said.
Peers also announced the chamber’s new emphasis on securing procurement opportunities for local MWBE businesses. The chamber will encourage institutions like private hospitals and colleges to source goods and services locally and consider using MWBE firms first.
For businesses with a credit score of 600 or less, Peers also announced a loan fund that can give them up to $1,500 in financing.
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