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UBS, partners roll out Greater Miami Business Opportunity Fund for small businesses

UBS, together with its small business lending partners, explained its new Greater Miami Business Opportunity Fund on Wednesday and met with small businesses interested in applying during a morning Elevating Entrepreneurs event in downtown Miami.

Funded with $5 million from UBS, the Greater Miami Business Opportunity Fund was announced in December. No loans have been made yet, but there are loans in the pipeline and the fund will be revolving, meaning more loans will be generated as loans are paid back, said Megan Mitchell, program manager of UBS’s Elevating Entrepreneurs. The loan process is administered by the national nonprofit VEDC, which has assisted more than 103,000 businesses, and Tampa-based Neighborhood Lending Partners.

The fund provides loans of $50,000 to $500,000 to existing qualifying businesses, growing companies of 1 to 200 employees and revenues up to $10 million. The business must operate in a low and moderate income community or 75 percent of its jobs must be for low to moderate income residents. The market interest rate in the program currently is 8.25 percent. For more information on the loan program, go to www.vedc.org or email apollan-sanchez@gmbof.org.

At the event, small businesses also heard about alternative financing programs, such as Accion for loans up to $50,000 and Liquid Capital for accounts receivables financing services. Frank Velasco of the U.S. Small Business Administration South Florida District was also on hand to talk about the services of the SBA and Florida Small Business Development Centers, which are full-service shops offering free help with incorporation, licensing, leasing and business planning, he said. The newest center opened recently at Florida International University. Small businesses not ready for VEDC financing were encouraged to look into Accion. “It’s not just about getting the money into your hands, its about the advice they offer – it’s an incredible resource,” Velasco said.

More Elevating Entrepreneurs educational events are in the plans, Mitchell said. UBS also offers these funding programs in Los Angeles, Chicago, the New York area and Nevada.