Gina Delice, Owner
Miami Mini Riders Transportation
19 JULY ABLE LOAN OPPORTUNITY INTERVIEW
With the Miami Open for Business Asset Building Loan for Entrepreneurs (ABLE) funding opportunity, small businesses and non–profits gain access to much-needed funding to finance the purchase of a commercial vehicle, bulk inventory (to resell), renovations to your business, refinance predatory debt used to buy assets, and more.
This infusion of funds can fuel innovation, streamline operations, and enhance the overall competitiveness of organizations, enabling them to reach new heights of success. Miami Open for Business provides invaluable resources and guidance to loan recipients.
Hear from our community-based lender (CDFI) and a member of our Stakeholder Advisory Group about why you should take advantage of the opportunity. In addition, we’ll share the perspective of two of our borrowers, Sandra Diaz of Smart Network Solutions Communications Corp and Gina Delice of Miami Mini Riders Transportation.
Maria Coto is the Executive Director for Partners for Self-Employment, a local CDFI in South Florida. Prior to serving as the executive director, Maria held a variety of key positions, such as the program’s loan underwriter and program director. Maria is also on the Open For Business funding team, as Partners for Self-Employment is the lender for the OFB small business funding.
What assets can small business owners and nonprofits buy or improve with the ABLE Loan? How will these assets increase their success?
Maria: This program can be used to purchase commercial vehicles, remodel or renovate a leased or owned space, purchase bulk inventory to meet increased demand, refinance predatory loans, succession planning and owner cooperative conversion. These allowable uses were designed specifically with a small business owner’s success in mind, while most small businesses when asked will tell you they need funding to meet payroll or rent these are basic expenses that a business should be generating and could generate with the right assets. Just think, if a restaurant can remodel its kitchen to include the space to take on takeout orders that’s an estimated revenue increase of 30%. The problem in no longer having the funds to make payroll its now a far more attractive problem of hiring additional team members to meet increased demand.
What resources do we provide to small business owners other than financial?
Maria: Because experience tells us that throwing money at a problem is a short-term band aid. The MOFB program considers that and provides the funding needed to acquire assets and then follows that up with the training and technical assistance needed to deploy that asset in the business successfully. An example, a small business purchases a bus to transport children to and from school. With this new asset the business needs to market to additional parents to fill the seats, needs to market to additional schools to recommend their service to parents inquiring at the school, the owner has to have a financial projection to determine how many full rides the bus must take daily to break even and then earn a profit, and finally the small business has to have systems in place to keep up with employees, maintenance
What are the specific eligibility criteria for small businesses and nonprofits to apply for the Miami Open For Business Asset Loan fund?
Maria: This program seeks to help the most historically disadvantaged of our local small business owners and the eligibility criteria was designed to ensure access for those businesses. The criteria is:
- Revenue under a $1 mMillion – while most loans are designed for higher earning businesses, we wanted to ensure access for the smaller businesses with this product
- Must be a Miami Dade County Business – the program is specifically for Miami Dade County where there is high concentration of the small businesses we seek to assist
- Must be led (non-profit) or primarily owned (for profit) by one of the minority groups that have been historically disadvantages and those are, Black, Hispanic, immigrant, indigenous, LGBTQ, Disabled or active military / veteran
What are the interest rates associated with the ABLE Loan?
Maria: Nonprofits can take advantage of a 0% interest loan while for profits have an extremely attractive rate of 3% regardless of the type of investment being made.
How does the application process for the ABLE Loan work, and what documents or information are required?
Maria: To streamline the process and keep the experience as user-friendly as possible a client can complete the application process from the comfort of their home in English, Spanish or Creole. The process is as follows, the client completes an application online (with support if needed), within 10 working days the client receives a response (approval, denial or request for additional / missing information). If an application shows a client needs support, we make the referral to a technical assistance provider. The documents needed are those that a client can expect to provide when applying for almost any loan and those include:
- Cash Flow Statements (prior & current)
- Financial Projections
- Tax Returns (business & personal)
- Bank statements
- Balance sheet
- Personal Financial Statement
- Identity documents (picture ID & Social Security Card)
- Required Licenses based on Industry
What distinguishes the Miami Open For Business Asset Building Loan from other similar programs available to small businesses?
Maria: The factors that set this loan aside from so many other available on the market are:
- The hands-on technical assistance available to the applicants to promote their success,
- The below average interest rate giving smaller businesses access to rates that would normally not be available to them,
- The focus on asset building when so many small minority owned businesses are asset poor, and
- The availability in multiple languages promoting use through multiple communities that aren’t always included in government programming.
Fabiana Estrada is the Regional VP of Lending for the Southeast Region for Ascendus. She joined this Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in 2010. During Fabiana’s management as Regional Director, her community received more than $3.6 million in capital which sustained over 600 jobs in local neighbors. In addition, Ascendus supports with financial education to minority racial/ethnic groups, immigrants, and women entrepreneurs. Fabiana is also a member of the Open For Business Advisory Group
Fabiana, can you explain how loans enable small businesses and nonprofits to seize growth opportunities and expand their reach?
Fabiana: Micro loans and any additional loan capital a business may receive are key developers to build cash cushion for future commitments. In addition, build credit and perform proper tax deductions with interest paid/loan closing costs.
What advantages do small businesses and nonprofits gain by securing a loan compared to other forms of financing, such as grants?
Fabiana: Expertise, creating steady payment record, proper tax deduction as mentioned above.
How does the fear of debt and financial obligations impact the decision of small businesses and nonprofits to seek loans?
Fabiana: Sometimes not knowing about the importance/need to demonstrate good debt management had been the main factor why a solid biz may be considered as handicap at the time to request for capital and receive a decline for a loan.
Does securing a loan offer help to improve cash flow management for small businesses?
Fabiana: Always is the best path to avoid decapitalization and be prepared for the future.
Gina Delice is the owner of Miami Mini Riders Transportation, a company that provides children with transportation to and from schools in Miami Dade county. Gina used financing from the ABLE loan to purchase a passenger van.
Gina, what was your experience applying for the Open For Business ABLE Loan?
Gina: The process was simple, and I was able to do it all remotely even get the needed technical assistance to complete the application.
What would you recommend to a future applicant for the ABLE Loan?
Gina: Don’t hesitate to request technical assistance if needed to get through the process. It helped me go from 2 7 passenger vans to 3 with a 15-passenger van. If I have this opportunity again, I will take it.
Sandra: Applying for the ABLE program was a seamless and rewarding process. The team from MF and Partners for Self-Employment, especially Gilda and Maria, provided us with exceptional support. They guided us through every application process step, ensuring we understood all the requirements and benefits. Their assistance was instrumental in helping Smart Network Solutions secure a loan through the program. Generally, the process involves filling out an application, providing necessary documentation such as financial statements and credit history, and undergoing a review and approval process by the bank.
What would you recommend to a future applicant for the ABLE Loa, Sandra
Sandra: To future applicants, we at Smart Network Solutions highly recommend taking full advantage of the resources offered by the MF and the ABLE program. Do not let fear or uncertainty deter you from this opportunity. A loan can be a powerful tool for business growth if used wisely. Do your research, understand the loan terms, and have a solid plan for using the funds. Rest assured, Gilda, Maria, and their team will provide you with the necessary support and guidance.
By participating in the Miami Open for Business Asset Building loan opportunity, small businesses and non-profits can unlock their true potential, build a strong foundation for growth, and contribute to the economic prosperity of the Miami community. Don’t miss this chance to fuel your organization’s success and make a lasting impact in the vibrant city of Miami. Apply now and embark on a transformative journey towards a brighter future.