RIBBA launches $100K statewide microlending program

PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Black Business Association has launched a new statewide microlending program for minority-owned businesses.

The new program, called the Microlending Initiative, was made possible by an award of $100,000 from R.I. Commerce Corp., the economic-development arm of state government. RIBBA is partnering with the Rhode Island Indian Council, Farm Fresh RI and the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center to provide lending and technical assistance to small businesses across the state.

Lisa Ranglin, RIBBA president, says the funding helps address a looming need in an underserved segment of the business community.

“While there has been improvement over the past few years, minority business owners in Rhode Island continue to find it difficult to access commercial loans,” Ranglin said. “RIBBA’s new microlending initiative will enable small and minority businesses across the state to access sufficient capital to grow and thrive in place.”

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Loans will be made up to $10,000 through the program, which can be used to leverage collateral support from such partnering financial institutions as Freedom National Bank, Navigant Credit Union and Pawtucket Credit Union of up to $50,000.

“We at RIBBA are pleased that the Commerce Corporation recognizes and supports our position that fostering economic inclusion for minority businesses is key to economic development in underserved communities,” Ranglin added.

The initiative will start by Dec. 1, according to a press release.

Eli Sherman is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Sherman@PBN.com, or follow him on Twitter @Eli_Sherman.