TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida is home to more than 3 million businesses, but less than 10 percent are Black-owned. However, a state program is hoping to change that.
The state is rolling out a program once again that streamlines the process for Black-owned businesses to get a loan, and many say access to additional funding is that extra push to reach the other side of success.
The Black Business Loan Program provides a source of capital for minority-owned businesses that might encounter difficulties getting funding from other sources.
“It’s the funding. It’s being able to present that we’re fully functional, that we’re legitimate,” said Elizabeth Racker, owner of Queen’s Fabric and Designs.
The program provides loans, loan guarantees, or investments through Loan Administrators to black business enterprises that cannot otherwise obtain capital through conventional lending institutions but who could otherwise compete successfully in the private sector.
“We have to prove ourselves more, our finances have to be in perfect shape for them to take a chance on us,” said Racker.
According to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, 3 percent of U.S. businesses were Black or African American owned in 2020. It’s the same year the pandemic hit and Thee Burger Spot in Tampa is still bouncing back.
“It’s a need in Tampa Bay for us to incubate these businesses and really help them grow,” said Vanessa Oatman with Thee Burger Spot.
The Black business loan program has the potential to foster diversity by helping small businesses stay afloat.
“I think society is changing in a way to push Black-owned everything,” said Racker.
The deadline to submit an application is June 1. Loans will be awarded on or before July 31.
For more information about the Black Business Loan Progam, click here.