U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, Community Leaders Announce New $10 Million Loan Program to Support Bronx Businesses, Economic Growth

Aug 17, 2023
Press

BRONX, N.Y. – U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) today joined local elected officials and economic development leaders to announce a new $10 million loan program that will support small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs create new opportunities, scale up their operations, and access working capital in some of the Bronx’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

“Small businesses are the heart of our neighborhoods and the backbone of our economy, creating jobs and expanding opportunities and prosperity for residents,” said U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (NY-15). “The $10 million Community Advantage Loan program will help local small business owners and entrepreneurs access working capital to grow and thrive, strengthen their inventory, and expand their footprint to support economic development in communities that need it the most. I encourage all small business owners, especially those hit hard by the pandemic, to apply to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity that will benefit our entire borough, where we are open for business!”

The funding, approved by the New York Empowerment Zone Corporation, will be administered by the Bronx Economic Development Corporation in partnership with the Business Initiative Corporation of New York and is provided through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Community Advantage Loan Fund. Additional information about eligibility and the application process can be found here.

Loans will range from $5,000 to $350,000 and can be used to cover expenses like payroll, inventory purchases, or new equipment. The focus will be on providing loans to businesses located in the South Bronx and particularly the New York Empowerment Zone, including the neighborhoods of Hunts Point, Port Morris, and the Yankee Stadium area. The maturity of the loan is 10 years with competitive flexible interest rates that can range from 2.5%-6%.

“Today’s announcement on the Bronx EDC (BxEDC) receiving $10 million in Empowerment Zone funding is a huge win for the Bronx and fulfills one of our key promises from our State of the Borough Address to support and uplift our small business community,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “This Empowerment Zone funding, which has been unused for decades since the Bill Clinton Administration, will give the Bronx Economic Development Corporation (BxEDC), in partnership with the Business Initiative Corporation of New York (BICNY), the ability to lend to small businesses that are in need of working capital. Not only will this program work to sustain our businesses, but it also has the potential of creating local good-paying jobs to help fuel and boost our economy. I want to thank the Bronx Economic Development Team, The Business Initiative Corporation of New York, Congressman Ritchie Torres, Small Business Administration Regional Administrator Marlene Cintron, Governor Kathy Hochul, Empire State Development, Speaker Carl Hastie, Mayor Eric Adams, and every organization that played a vital role in making this initiative a reality. We are grateful for their commitment to supporting the economic growth and longevity of our Bronx business community.”

“Small businesses serve as the foundation of every local economy,” said Diana Ayala, Deputy Speaker of the New York City Council. “To nurture economic growth in the Bronx, it’s crucial that we direct our focus towards community investment and establish a strong network of small businesses. This loan program serves as the means to achieve just that – empowering residents with the capital and opportunity to establish businesses within our community. These businesses won’t only meet the needs of our residents but will also attract people from nearby and distant places, inviting them to discover what we have to offer in our corner of New York City.”

“The Bronx business community has shown remarkable resilience since the pandemic and is a hotbed for entrepreneurial activity and small business growth,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “This new $10 million fund will help inject much needed capital into the business ecosystem to help small business owners and local entrepreneurs scale up and thrive in the Bronx.”

According to recent data from the Center for an Urban Future, the number of new business applications increased 30% from 2019 to 2021 with the fastest rate of growth occurring in the Bronx, which saw a 66% increase. However, the Bronx has long lagged in loan programs for small businesses. For example, only 2% of COVID-19 relief dollars from NYC Small Business Services were distributed to Bronx businesses.

“Our goal at BxEDC is to promote economic development in the Bronx. That means helping small businesses get capital, it means helping to promote mom and pop shops that are looking to thrive, and helping entrepreneurs,” said BxEDC President Rob Walsh. “Now that our new loan fund has been approved the real work begins. We will move forward in getting capital access to small businesses looking to take their organization to the next level. With its long and rich history, BxEDC has the relationships to deploy our new fund. I have already begun hearing from dedicated businesses owners and entrepreneurs who, with access to our new loan, are looking to create jobs and expand here in the Bronx.”

“Supporting small businesses is at the core of economic development, and assisting entrepreneurs, especially those in underserved communities with guaranteed loan options, gives them the boost they need to succeed,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight. “As Chair of the New York Empowerment Zone Corporation, I am pleased to support the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and this vital program for South Bronx residents.”

“This new program will build off BICNY’s highly successful track record as an SBA lender. I have seen the power that SBA programs in transforming businesses and creating opportunity here in the borough,” said BICNY President Rafael Roger. “That is why I am excited and proud to announce BICNY’s new Community Advantage Loan Fund will provide smaller balance loans to businesses in need of working capital.”

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