UMEZ Announces Hybrid Microloan Program For Uptown Small Businesses And Nonprofits

November 10, 2020

This week, UMEZ announced its newest loan product, a hybrid microloan.

The UMEZ Hybrid Microloan fund is capitalized with $2 million and was created to support Upper Manhattan small businesses and nonprofits adversely impacted by COVID-19.

Small businesses and nonprofits that are approved for a hybrid microloan can obtain a 5-year term loan for up to $50,000. In the fifth year, UMEZ will convert into a grant 25% of the original loan amount for borrowers meeting the loan-to-grant conversion requirements.

“As an economic development organization, we know that creating innovative products that fit the needs of Upper Manhattan’s small businesses and nonprofits is essential for sustained local economic growth,” said Blair M. Duncan, president, and CEO of UMEZ. “The UMEZ Hybrid Microloan program aims to give businesses the financial assistance that will help them reinvent their business strategy to fit the short- to medium-term changes forced on all by the coronavirus pandemic.”

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This initiative is part of UMEZ’s effort to promote small business activity and maintain job opportunities within Upper Manhattan. The UMEZ Hybrid Microloan program is a fee-free, low-interest product designed to support small businesses and nonprofits that employ 20 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.

“COVID-19 has not only impacted the health and financial stability of the Upper Manhattan community, but it has also interrupted the day-to-day operations of the businesses that serve Upper Manhattan residents,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “The UMEZ Hybrid Microloan program has the potential to sustain small businesses and nonprofits that make New York City a great place to live and do business.”

UMEZ is partnering with the Washington Heights and Inwood Development Corporation and the Harlem Business Alliance to reach out to local businesses and nonprofits and assist them with the application process.

“This new loan program from UMEZ will help us provide an additional resource to Harlem entrepreneurs struggling to survive during these trying times,” said Regina Smith, executive director of the Harlem Business Alliance.

Related: Regina Smith Talks Harlem Business On The Danny Tisdale Show (Audio)

“The UMEZ Hybrid Microloan will be another tool in our toolbox to help retain small businesses and jobs in Upper Manhattan,” said Jahaira Guerrero, CEO of the Washington Heights and Inwood Development Corporation.

The hybrid microloan fund will be available on a rolling basis as long as funds permit or until August 31, 2021, whichever comes first. The hybrid microloan can be used for a variety of eligible business expenses including, but not limited to, working capital, inventory, marketing, refitting for new social distancing guidelines, operating and emergency maintenance, utilities, payroll, and inventory.

UMEZ will schedule an information session about the UMEZ Hybrid Microloan program. The media and community members will be invited to attend.

For more information about the UMEZ Hybrid Microloan program, access the application, and guidebook, please visit

UMEZ, which is an independent not-for-profit corporation, whose mission is to sustain the economic revitalization of all communities of Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments, and small business assistance. UMEZ is part of a national network of certified CDFI Fund promoting economic growth by financing businesses, creating jobs, and rebuilding neighborhoods. UMEZ facilitates economic development in the neighborhoods of Central, West, and East Harlem; Washington Heights; and Inwood.

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