ORLANDO, Fla –  The Black Business Investment Fund of Florida (BBIF) is pleased to announce today that the organization has been awarded a $500,000 grant from Wells Fargo in support of diverse small businesses. The grant, from the Wells Fargo Foundation, is part of the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®Diverse Community Capital (DDC) program, which offers capital and technical assistance to minority-owned small businesses as a way to create local jobs and strengthen neighborhoods. 

This grant is one of 18 funded so far this year totaling $7.9 million in contributions nationwide to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).

“This recently announced grant represents a continuation of Wells Fargo’s ongoing commitment to support diverse communities as well as black and minority businesses throughout Florida,” stated Inez Long, president and CEO of BBIF. “This new investment will provide BBIF the resources necessary to better respond to the needs of our client-base, providing specific training resources that they need to scale their businesses and create additional jobs.”

The $500,000 investment will help to support BBIF’s statewide growth and expansion plans. Specifically, the funds will be used to create a Construction Assistance Center to propel minority entrepreneurs in the booming construction industry in several areas throughout the state. 

BBIF was one of three initial Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Funds to be awarded grant dollars through Wells Fargo’s DCC program when it launched in 2015. At that time, BBIF was awarded $1 million. 

“BBIF Florida is deeply embedded in the community and has the skill to deliver personalized coaching, services, and capital to minority small-business owners,” said BBIF Florida Board Member and Wells Fargo Florida and Southeast Community Relations Senior Manager Marilyn Drayton. “Together, we can help more diverse entrepreneurs reach their full potential and stimulate job creation in the process. We know that working with CDFIs is an effective way to put more small businesses on a path to financial success.” 

Wells Fargo has been an essential part of BBIF’s growth over the last four years, providing debt and grant capital investments totaling more than $4 million. This total includes funds used to launch a Hurricane Resiliency Loan Fund, through which BBIF partners with other Florida-based CDFIs to provide capital to small businesses that have been impacted by recent hurricanes, or are preparing in advance for potential storms.  

Launched in 2015, the Wells Fargo Works For Small Business®: Diverse Community Capital program operates in collaboration with the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN). According to OFN’s latest report, DCC awardees have already made more than 16,000 loans to diverse small business owners resulting in $785 million in lending across 37 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. In addition, grant funding has provided for more than 322,000 hours of development services for over 49,000 diverse entrepreneurs. Wells Fargo is on track to invest more than $175 million in diverse small businesses growth through 2020.

About BBIF Florida 

BBIF Florida is a mission-driven lender and business development organization that helps communities thrive by providing loan capital for African-Americans, other minorities and underserved businesses by creating opportunities for low-income communities through real estate investments. The key to BBIF’s success has been a deep sense of purpose, a broad perspective, and a consistent focus on achieving positive results. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., BBIF is Florida’s largest statewide small business lender that specializes in providing capital for minority and underserved businesses. Since 1988, BBIF has provided over $48 million in loans to more than 434 businesses and leveraged $132 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) community investments.

BBIF is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund, Community Development Enterprise (CDE) and New Markets Tax Credit Allocatee. BBIF is certified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as a Community Advantage “Delegated” Lender and Micro Loan Lender, by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) as a Money Smart Small Business Collaborator, and is a member of the prestigious Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national membership group of CDFIs, as well as the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), a national membership group of microenterprise financers. BBIF is an equal opportunity provider.

In addition to providing simplified capital solutions, BBIF Florida assists business clients by providing financial technical assistance services. An intensive management capacity training service, the Financial Training Academy helps business owners to successfully manage and meet their business challenges, maximizing profits and creating/retaining jobs. The entrepreneurial spirit of our clients drives our passion for the work we do, breaking down barriers and strengthening businesses in the markets we serve. 

For more information, visit https://bbif.com/