Statewide new loan programs available to minority businesses in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) was approved for an award of $100,000 from Commerce Corporation for a new Microlending Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to make business loans to minority businesses throughout Rhode Island. With RIBBA's partners in this lending program - the RI Indian Council, Farm Fresh and the MET School - RIBBA's lending and technical assistance services will be extended statewide.

Loans up to $10,000 will be available from RIBBA to minority micro businesses throughout Rhode Island with special emphasis on businesses located in cities and towns experiencing multiple areas of high economic stress: Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, North Providence, Woonsocket and West Warwick. In partnership with Freedom National Bank, Navigant Credit Union and Pawtucket Credit Union, RIBBA will provide collateral support for loans up to $50,000. In keeping with our strategic goals, we plan to offer special loan programs for minority business enterprises led by youth and to support farmer's market entrepreneurs.

RIBBA's existing programs remain in place. Funding in the amount of $95,000 was awarded by the City of Providence CDBG to provide technical services to minority businesses and funding in the amount of $10,000 was awarded by the City of Pawtucket CDBG to continue RIBBA's current Collateral Support Program.

RIBBA'S president, Lisa Ranglin declared, "While there has been improvement over the past few years, minority business owners in Rhode Island continue to find it difficult to access commercial loans. RIBBA's new Microlending Initiative will enable small and minority businesses across the state to access sufficient capital to grow and thrive in place. We at RIBBA are pleased that the Commerce Corporation recognizes and supports our position that fostering economic inclusion for minority businesses, is key to economic development in underserved communities."

The RIBBA Microlending Initiative will be open to receive loan applications by December 1. Interested business owners can call 401-383-1178 for further information.