06 Oct The Miami Foundation Open for Business Program Now Available to Help Strengthen Historically Underserved Small Businesses in Miami-Dade County
Foundation distributing grants and loans for small business assets and real estate, with support from $20M Wells Fargo donation
First round of applications now open
MIAMI, October 6, 2022 – The Miami Foundation, one of the largest philanthropic institutions in South Florida, announced today the official opening of the Miami Open for Business program to support historically underserved small business owners in Miami-Dade County. Funded with a $20 million grant from Wells Fargo announced earlier this year, the program aims to empower nonprofits and small businesses to build generational wealth and resilience through the purchase and ownership of critical business assets, such as property, equipment, and technology.
Eligible non-profits and small businesses can now apply at miamiopenforbusiness.org for a variety of grants and loans. Together with The Miami Foundation’s community-based lending partner, Partners for Self Employment, Miami Open for Business is offering three unique funding opportunities:
- Microgrants for Technology and Equipment: Grants up to $20,000 for nonprofits and small businesses to purchase hardware, software, machinery, and equipment.
- Asset Building Loans for Entrepreneurs (ABLE) Fund: Low-interest, patient financing from $5,000 to $100,000 for nonprofits and small businesses to acquire vehicles or inventory, renovate or remodel space, refinance predatory debt taken on for asset building, succession financing, or worker co-operative conversion.
- Collective Real Estate Ownership (CREO) Funding: Down payment assistance up to $500,000 for shared commercial real estate in historically underinvested neighborhoods and corridors to root community businesses and nonprofits.
The first round of Microgrant applications is due November 7th, while applications for Collective Real Estate Funding are due on November 28th, with funding decisions announced in December. Loan applications will be accepted and disbursed on a rolling basis through December 1st, or until annual funding allocations are met. Funding cycles will continue twice annually for the following two years. Basic eligibility requirements for Miami-Dade nonprofits and small businesses to apply include being owned or led by an individual(s) from a historically underserved background (i.e., Black, Latino, LGBTQ, veteran, person with disabilities), and having been in existence for at least 2 years. Microgrant and Loan applicants must also have less than $1M in annual revenue or operating budget. Additional eligibility requirements are mentioned at miamiopenforbusiness.org.
“Minority-led small businesses and nonprofits were hit the hardest during the pandemic and continue to face deep disparities in seeking access to capital, resources and other assistance,” says Rebecca Fishman Lipsey, President and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “It is our priority to address historic inequities and to help build generational wealth for these business owners and their families. This transformational investment from Wells Fargo will support a stable future for diverse small businesses, who are the lifeblood of our community.”
“Accelerating the growth of small businesses is essential for building generational wealth and vibrant communities,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy for Wells Fargo. “We’re excited to help open up a new avenue for capital and expertise through the Miami Foundation and its partners.”
“Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “By giving small business owners the means to own and control more of their assets, we help create an accessible path to generational wealth building. With this investment from Wells Fargo and leadership from The Miami Foundation, we’ll both strengthen our small business ecosystem and build the financial resilience of minority-led businesses countywide.”
“The Open for Business Program by the Miami Foundation is concrete proof that we are building a city that Works for Everyone,” said Mayor Francis Suarez. “By providing minority business owners cutting-edge resources and opportunities, such as the Micro Grants for Technology, Equipment and Machinery, we are creating new avenues for those who have been historically left behind to build generational prosperity and a guaranteed seat at the table in the economy of tomorrow.”
The initiative is a part of Wells Fargo’s national Open for Business Fund, a roughly $420 million national small business recovery effort for racially and ethnically diverse small business owners who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. To maintain the passion and prioritization of collective impact and inclusion for these small businesses, The Miami Foundation engaged a Small Business Stakeholder Advisory Group, a leadership circle of local visionaries with deep expertise about the small business ecosystem, alongside dozens of community stakeholders to inform and advise on the strategic thinking of the program.