Erie County Redevelopment Authority (ECRDA) is excited and pleased to announce the creation of a new minority Diversity Loan Program. The Diversity Loan Program offers micro-loans, ranging from $5000 to $35,000 for small businesses owned by a minority or woman.
The purpose of the program is to facilitate equitable small business growth by focusing on minority and women owned businesses as well as those located in and/or serving historically disadvantaged populations. The goal is to help improve personal wealth and bolster new job creation and sustainability through access to capital and other resources.
“Minority and women owned businesses, and black-owned businesses in particular, have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic. Add to that the fact that access to capital has, and continues to be, an obstacle to minority business growth. Our mission is to try to alleviate some of the stress these business owners feel and to help jumpstart some new businesses,” commented Tina Mengine, CEO of the ECRDA.
The first loan went to Blue Rock Construction, a black-owned business in Erie County, for truck modifications. According to Don Crenshaw, Founder and President, “I’m so thankful for the loan and this program. It was easy and the team was very supportive. This loan helped us upgrade our truck which in turns helps our business. I know firsthand, what limits a lot of minority businesses from being successful is affordable access to capital.”
CEO Tina Mengine added, “ We recognized early on that we needed to address the access to capital issue among minority and women business owners, that we needed to be more thoughtful and purposeful in assisting this cohort. We also recognized that when access to capital is available it is at a much higher rate, often near predatory. Our rates are fair and competitive. It’s hard to succeed and get ahead when you are paying rates at 3 or 4X times the market rate.”
For more information on the program or apply online, click here.