Column | The key to obtaining capital is economic empowerment

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In the vibrant borough of the Bronx, a dream is taking shape among its entrepreneurs. This dream is powered by the essential, yet often overlooked, tool of economic empowerment. The Bronx Economic Development Corporation (BXEDC) and the Business Initiative Center of New York (BICNY) have crafted a key to unlock those dreams: the Community Advantage loan program. However, access to this financial resource is intertwined with the business owners’ understanding and control over their finances.

So, what is the connection between economic empowerment and access to capital? Access to capital is one of the main barriers to growth for small businesses. The US Chamber reported back in 2023, along with a time-consuming application process, that not having enough revenue or assets is a major issue to acquiring a loan. Many small-business owners, like some in The Bronx, have funded their ventures with their own personal savings. This lowers a business owners’ assets which ultimately makes it harder to qualify for federal funding.

Navigating the path to any loan requires financial literacy and control over your assets. It is the compass that guides business owners through the complex landscape of business financing, helping them to articulate their business model, understand their market, manage their cash flow, and demonstrate their capacity to repay loans.

However, economic empowerment is not just about balancing books or projecting revenue. It’s about crafting a vision for one’s business that is both sustainable and focused on growth. Here are three things to consider when applying for Community Advantage:

  1. Maintain accurate financial records and be up to date on your taxes.
  2. Keep your credit score strong.
  3. Develop a business plan that includes detailed financial projections.

The narrative of the Bronx is one of resilience, innovation and ambition. Financial empowerment and access to capital is not just about funding; it’s about creating a future for small businesses. For the businesses of the Bronx, mastering finances is the first step towards success for small businesses. Go to to learn more about how access to capital can go from a dream to a reality for your business.

Ruvi Lopez is director of the Empowerment Zone for the Bronx Economic Development Corporation.