The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim today announced a major expansion of the Contract Financing Loan Fund program.
This will enable the City to provide an additional $50 million in low-interest funding to Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) providing City goods and services. The announcement comes during New York City’s “Black Business Month,” featuring outreach and events led by SBS’s Black Entrepreneurs NYC (BE NYC) initiative to spotlight and serve Black-owned businesses.
The Contract Financing Loan Fund (CFLF), launched in 2017, helps small businesses serving as City vendors grow their capacity, hire new employees, and make capital improvements while they deliver on City contracts. The new multi-million City investment into the fund will be leveraged by local lending partners to double the program’s impact, helping an estimated total of 350 M/WBE contractors fulfill $600 million in City contracts by FY 2026. The Fund reflects the City’s commitment to addressing the “disparity within the disparity” in M/WBE contracting. Since 2017, more than half (53%) of the Fund’s awards have gone to Black and Latino business owners, helping to address challenges these firms face due to historic barriers to financing and credit.
SBS is also expanding direct outreach to Black-owned businesses to bridge gaps in funding. Just two weeks ago, SBS co-hosted “The Melanin Summit:” a first-of-its-kind event in partnership with SBS’ BE NYC initiative, The Black Institute, and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams to convene and provide targeted services to M/WBEs that face challenges in City contracting. The event was attended both in person and virtually by more than 200 people, and featured speakers such as Council Member Mercedes Narcisse and experts from 12 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). The summit was conceived as an innovative way to connect Black small business owners, including certified M/WBEs, with affordable financing via SBS’ CDFI partners.
“The expansion of the Contract Financing Loan Fund is a game changer in the fight against the ‘disparity within the disparity,’” said Deputy Mayor for Housing, Economic Development, and Workforce Maria Torres-Springer. “Access to capital continues to be an obstacle to success for many Black business owners in our city. By helping more M/WBEs gain access to financing, we are starting to make real progress in addressing the historic inequalities that have affected so many for too long.”
“SBS is committed to helping Black businesses grow and thrive across New York City,” said SBS Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “Through our work with partners in government and in the community, and through this historic expansion of the CFLF, we are deploying every resource at our disposal to meet that goal. Thanks to Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer, New York City is putting our dollars to work for hundreds of diverse businesses as they fulfill millions of dollars in City contracts. I want to thank Speaker Adams and The Black Institute for joining us on this important mission during Black Business Month.”
“M/WBEs are critical to the growth of our economy and the stability of our communities, which is why the Council has focused on expanding economic opportunities for all,” said City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. “The Melanin Summit, which connected M/WBEs and other small businesses with Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), is a great example of the Council’s efforts to advance equitable lending and opportunities. Today’s announcement for the expansion of SBS’ Contract Financing Loan Fund program is another necessary step towards supporting increased growth and access to capital for M/WBEs. I look forward to the impact of Black Business Month events on our communities, and the work ahead to continue bridging talent with opportunity for our city’s Black entrepreneurs and M/WBEs.”
The Melanin Summit was the first event in a new series of BE NYC: Access convening aimed at supporting M/WBEs to advance in City contracting. It also marked the beginning of a calendar of events in observance of Black Business Month, including a BE NYC fireside chat with celebrity chef & entrepreneur Marcus Samuelsson on August 30 about the Guesst Open Doors Initiative to support minority entrepreneurs with retail opportunities. Additional information on these events will be made available on the BE NYC events page.
“During Black Business Month, BE NYC is shining a bright light on the importance of Black-owned businesses to our City’s overall economic well-being,” said Kenneth Ebie, Executive Director & Chief Development Officer, BE NYC. “More importantly, with the launch of our BE NYC Access Series, the Shop Black NYC Directory, and other programs, we plan to connect these businesses with the tools and resources to support their success for years to come.”
Black Business Month comes on the heels of an important outreach milestone, as the SBS Outreach Team celebrated reaching 10,000 New Yorkers, breaking agency records. During Black Business Month, the SBS Outreach Team continues to target Black-owned businesses to promote the agency’s free services, a key goal of Mayor Eric Adams’ Blueprint for Economic Recovery.
Outreach will promote:
- BE NYC’s “Shop Black NYC” online directory of Black-owned businesses across New York City, with filters that allow users to search by industry and by borough.
- SBS’s Cannabis NYC initiative, which supports the development of a thriving and equitable cannabis industry with first-of-its-kind support for aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs.
- SBS’s NYC Business Express Service Team (NYC BEST), which helps business owners expedite the permitting and licensing process while avoiding fines and fees. Since 2022, NYC BEST has helped more than 2,200 businesses save more than $22 million.
- SBS’s 18 Workforce1 Career Centers, which connect New Yorkers with skills training, mentorships, apprenticeships, education, jobs, and career counseling.
- SBS’s 7 NYC Business Solutions Centers which provide New Yorkers access to free services to start, operate, and grow small businesses.
- LinkNYC’s Link Local advertisement kiosks, which is providing Black-owned small businesses with up to four free ads in their communities during the month of August.
“Equity, diversity, and inclusion have been both a professional and personal passion of mine throughout my career,” said Chief Business Diversity Officer Michael J. Garner. “I’m privileged to be associated with a mayoral administration and a City Council that acknowledges the need to not only formally recognize these elements as foundational components of what makes New York City the greatest city in the world but are also driving material resources to our M/WBEs. The innovative efforts of The Melanin Summit and the expansion of the Contract Financing Loan Fund (CFLF) in partnership with our great network of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) will lead to the eradication of significant barriers to market entry that most M/WBEs experience. These combined initiatives honor the spirit of Black Business Month.”
BE NYC, launched by the NYC Department of Small Business Services in 2019, is a first-of-its-kind model in a major American city to help address the racial wealth gap by empowering Black entrepreneurs. Through strategic public-private partnerships and innovative programs, BE NYC provides pathways to achieve systemic change by providing equitable access to financing, strengthening professional networks and advice, scaling Black businesses for long-term success, and preparing Black entrepreneurs for opportunities in high-growth industries. For more information, visit nyc.gov/benyc.
The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)
SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building vibrant neighborhoods across the five boroughs. For more information on all SBS services, go to nyc.gov/sbs
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