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The resurgence in Florida’s Black-owned enterprise

This community lender is helping preserve decades of entrepreneurship

Florida is the third-largest state for Black-owned businesses in the country, following New York and Georgia. But this wasn’t always the case. In the 1980s, economic disenfranchisement of the Black community, among other factors, contributed to racial unrest in Miami and satellite communities. The resulting social justice movement brought attention to large economic gaps that nonprofit groups such as the Black Business Investment Fund of Florida (BBIF) committed to address. “Focusing on the needs of Black entrepreneurs, and why those needs exist, has allowed us not only to help spur Black business ownership,” says Inez Long, the Chief Executive Officer of BBIF, ”it has also helped grow a culture and community of Black entrepreneurship.” The BBIF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with a mission to serve Black, minority and underserved communities through business lending and training.

In the above video, Long talks about the state of Black businesses in Florida and what coronavirus-related challenges they’re facing. During more than three decades of operation, BBIF has distributed nearly $86.8 million in loans, creating nearly 14,161 jobs. Keeping these businesses going is critical not just to Florida’s Black business community, Long says, but for the country as a whole. “Small businesses create the majority of the jobs in our communities. It’s critical for CDFIs to be able to continue to help small businesses survive, especially when faced with something like the coronavirus.”

Currently, Bank of America is the largest private investor in CDFIs, with more than $2 billion in loans and investments across 250 CDFIs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more about how Bank of America is working alongside community lenders like Inez Long and the BBIF to help support small businesses and to drive economic and career opportunities in African American and Latino/Hispanic communities across the country. 

Originally published 11/06/2020