As COVID-19 continues to impact certain business sectors across Arizona, some of the hardest hit are the tiniest companies owned and operated by Latinos, Blacks, Native Americans and low-income individuals.
To help these micro-entrepreneurs continue to achieve their biggest dreams, the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it is awarding a $200,000 grant to Prestamos, a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that will approve and process the loans.
CDFIs are considered particularly important for businesses owned by people of color who historically have faced more roadblocks in obtaining loans.
Now more than ever, CDFIs play a critical role in assisting these emerging entrepreneurs, said Teresa Miranda, vice president of Prestamos.
“It is during challenging times when we are especially reminded of the vital role that small businesses have in keeping our economies afloat and saving jobs,” Miranda said. “We have had the ability to respond quickly and deploy much needed funds and other resources to assist businesses because of partners such as SBA.”
Businesses in rural areas, Opportunity Zones and HUBZones targeted
The grant funding comes from the SBA’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) that assists low-income entrepreneurs in gaining access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.
In awarding the grants this year, SBA placed emphasis on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those in rural areas and in Opportunity Zones and HUBZones, which typically are in low-income neighborhoods or historically underutilized business zones.
Not just about lending money
CDFIs such as Prestamos are intended to finance community small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing to spur job growth and retention in hard-to-serve markets.
They not only lend money to low-income business owners, they also advocate for them in both English and Spanish. In addition to financial services, loans, and investments, they offer training and technical assistance services and promote development efforts to aid individuals and communities to effectively use credit and capital.
“Capital is king for any aspiring or current entrepreneur, and the SBA is committed to providing critical funding to small businesses,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “Retaining jobs — and creating new ones — is essential this year, and we are proud to award this year’s PRIME grants to assist entrepreneurs with the necessary training to create thriving sustainable businesses.”
For more information or to apply for a loan, go to: Prestamos.
Prestamos CDFI, LLC, which is a subsidiary of the nonprofit Chicanos Por La Causa, was founded in 1980 to promote business and community development by removing historical barriers and providing access to capital through non-traditional small business financing.