BP Gibson, BXEDC announce new microloan program for small businesses

Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson and the Bronx Economic Development Corporation announced a new microloan program for small businesses.
Photo courtesy Anat Gerstein

On Friday, May 10, Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson and the Bronx Economic Development Corporation (BXEDC) announced a new microloan program for small businesses. The new loan program builds on the borough president and BXEDC’s commitment to support the growing small business sector in the Bronx, and follows a $10MM loan program announced last fall.

“The Bronx is open for business,” Gibson said. “These microloans will give our small business owners the capital they need to make improvements to their business and remain in our communities.”

This microloan program provides capital access for the common costs small businesses incur but cannot pay for upfront, such as small equipment like refrigerators, and renovations, as well as working capital for inventory. The maximum size of a microloan is $50,000. The interest rate is currently 5% and the term is variable depending on the size of the loan.

“Small businesses are the lifelines of communities. They help residents build wealth and create thriving main streets,” said Rob Walsh, president of BXEDC and a former commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services. “That’s why, under the leadership of Bronx Borough President Gibson, we are looking for every opportunity to support our thriving small business community and help is succeed.”

The microloan program follows on the $10MM New York Empowerment Zone Corporation Loan Program launched in the fall of 2023. The Empowerment Zone Loan program supports bigger capital needs, up to $350,000.

BXEDC, in partnership with The Business Initiative Corporation of New York (BICNY), recently closed on the first three loans for this program, totaling $175,000. Loan recipients include Established Screens Incorporated, which received a $75k loan for the purchase of an embroidery machine to expand services offered; Vent Bike Tech, which received a $20k loan to cover payroll expenses; and JNJ Laundry, which received an $80k loan to refinance equipment.

“BXEDC is truly invested in the success of Bronx businesses. They didn’t didn’t just hand Established Screens Inc. a check and send us on our way,” said Eric Gallea, owner of Established Screens Inc. “The staff worked with us like partners. They assisted us in finding the right equipment to expand and take our business to the next level.”

“As a small business, payroll is one of our largest expenses. Securing a $20,000 loan to ensure that our valued employees are taken care of first, allows us to focus on providing Bronx motorists and our other customers with superior quality service, parts installation and expertise,” said Pedro Ventura, owner of Vent Bike Tech.

“The New York Empowerment Zone Corporation Loan allowed me to free up capital to use to enhance business operations,” said Jacob Torres, owner of JNJ Laundry.

The Empowerment Zone Corporation Loan Program was established in August of 2023 to spur economic development in underserved communities. It focuses on supporting small businesses primarily within the Empowerment Zone district, which includes the neighborhoods of Hunts Point, Port Morris, and the Yankee Stadium area, or those considered Low-to-Moderate Income (LMI).

“I am pleased to hear the news that three dynamic small businesses in the South Bronx have been awarded a total of $175,000 in low-interest loans through the $10M Community Advantage Loan Program,” said Gibson. “The resilience, energy and vitality demonstrated by these businesses reflect the same qualities being seen in our local economy.”

“The Bronx has bounced back remarkably from a nearly 25.6% unemployment rate at the height of the pandemic to where it currently stands at 6.6%,” Gibson added. “I would like to express my gratitude to Congress Member Ritchie Torres, Bronx Economic Development Corporation President Robert Walsh and Bronx Initiative Corporation President Rafael Roger for their collaborative efforts in ensuring the continued success of our Bronx economy.”