Pandemic Magnifies The Needs Of Minority-Owned Businesses Devastated By The Pandemic
Prestamos CDFI Convenes Group Of Key Players and Local Latino Owned Business To Discuss Challenges They Face
Small businesses are the heart and soul of any community. While being responsible for keeping the economy afloat, they provide much more than monetary value. Small businesses are also responsible for shaping and molding the culture of a state, city, and neighborhood. They become gathering spaces for friends, cultivate and foster innovations, or provide comfort through a shared meal with loved ones. At Prestamos Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), we understand that there is a uniqueness to every small business and the entrepreneurs responsible for bringing them to life. Our organization is not only focused on helping small businesses identify and develop areas of opportunity. We are also here to be their advocates.
To this end, members of the lending and technical assistance teams at Prestamos CDFI recently convened with Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carazza, The Arizona Commerce Authority, District SBA, and several Latino owned small businesses at the Chicanos Por la Causa Buckeye Commerce Center. The purpose of the convening was to have open and honest conversations about the needs and struggles minority-owned, small local businesses face. While for some small business owners, these issues have always been at play, the pandemic further exposed and magnified how lack of resources and assistance can devastate a business. In the convening,
One of the largest discussion topics was the importance of funding for Technical Assistance programs, especially as the potential for another round of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) assistance becomes more likely. As an administrator of the PPP, Prestamos CDFI found that many small businesses struggled to understand the application process and need assistance in organizing their documents and getting their books in order. This is a critical component of applying and obtaining assistance through the PPP and other similar programs.
Phoenix immigration attorney, Emilia Bañuelos, spoke about how COVID-19 had significant negative impacts on her business. She spoke to how access to the PPP funds was crucial to the survival of her business. Emilia also pressed the topic of how difficult and disheartening the process was when her longtime bank turned her away for the PPP and how Prestamos was critical in helping her secure the funds. She expressed that there is a continued growing fear amongst the minority-owned small business community as uncertainty and frustration plagues our society.
Amber Cordoba, Director of Business Education and Consulting Services, at Prestamos, shared her concerns that “many minority small business owners struggled to gain access to PPP and other CARES funding because they were not considered a priority by their banks. This further reinforces the important role that CDFI’s play in the communities they serve and the importance of Technical Assistance programs.” This sentiment was echoed by others in the room, including everyone around the room, including Amado Becera, one of the four brothers that make up B’s Granite.
At the start of COVID-19, the construction industry was faced with startling closures, which impacted their business and their ability to support their families and employees. B’s Granite in Phoenix is another example of how PPP funding helped keep the business open and keep all eleven of their employees employed. While PPP has been critical in assisting many businesses to keep their doors open, it has also not been quite enough for the long-term.
As the PPP component is only a small part of what Prestamos CDFI does, we also provide technical assistance through our SBA MicroLending programs and were recently awarded the SBA Program for Investment In Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME). Through the PRIME program, Prestamos will offer no-cost training and technical assistance (TA) to help strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly in Opportunity Zones, Rural areas, and HUBZones. Support will include bilingual training and coaching in areas such as Accounting, QuickBooks, Business Pivoting, Strategic Planning, Business Plan Coaching, Marketing, Debt Restructuring, and Human Resources.
In addition, Prestamos is hopeful to be selected to host an SBA Women’s Business Center. This unique program is something that does not currently exist in Phoenix but would help women entrepreneurs gain the skills and assistance needed to start and operate successful small businesses.
SBA loan guarantees remove barriers to capital access that disproportionally impact minority-owned businesses and support quality job creation in distressed communities. CDFI’s, like Prestamos, play a big role in providing support and opportunity for small businesses that they may otherwise not have access to. As the conversation came to Teresa Miranda, Vice President of Prestamos CDFI, expressed to Administrator Carazza how honored Prestamos was to be selected to host the round table and for the support the SBA has provided to the organization and the small business community.
Prestamos CFDI continues to work and impact small businesses in our market communities of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. We exist to help nurture and grow entrepreneurs through their journeys. We are a mission-driven entity that operates under the non-profit Chicanos Por La Causa, which provides communities with resources ranging from health, education, financial services, housing, and advocacy. Prestamos continues its efforts to advance our work to provide high-quality financial products and services for small businesses that lead to impactful economic development projects. We invite you to visit our website to find out how you can be part of this impact.