SWEETWATER, Fla. (July 29, 2021) – The RISE Miami-Dade Small Business Loan Fund today announced that it has issued more than 900 loans to small businesses in Miami-Dade that were negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Dade County Federal Credit Union, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Commission, and several Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) created the RISE Miami-Dade Small Business Loan Fund (Re-Investing In Our Small Business Economy). Seeded with $25 million from the county and administered by the credit union, this partnership and revolving fund issued more than $18 million in loans to more than 900 small businesses across the county, positively impacting more than 4,500 families. Miami-Dade Commissioner Eileen Higgins served as a driving force behind creating the program.
“This was a true public-private partnership that leveraged the county’s assets and the leadership of Commissioner Higgins to assist many deserving small businesses,” said George Joseph, president, and CEO of Dade County Federal. “We are proud to have run the program and worked with the many amazing partners that drove its success.”
Soon after Covid-19 federal aid projects were announced for small businesses nationwide, credit union executives and local leaders noticed a major gap in funding opportunities for many small business owners who were not eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration loans such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). RISE was created to fill that void. RISE loan can be used to cover payroll or rent, purchase technology, or to cover any business-related expense.
From the beginning, RISE made it a priority to seek out and support Black-, women- and minority-owned small businesses that have historically lacked access to capital – but that were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic-induced economic crisis. The majority of loans, more than 80% went to minority-owned firms, while 40% of loans went to women-owned businesses and 10% to Black-owned small businesses.
The application process and document requirements for RISE were designed to be simple and streamlined, and they assisted many business owners who were turned down by other relief programs.
JLouis Dry Cleaner in North Miami was crippled from the moment lockdown measures took effect but has benefitted from a RISE loan.
“Our services depend on the customers who go to church, schools, weddings, and parties,” said Johnson Louis, owner of JLouis. “With the shutdown, these events stopped and the need for our services came to a halt. The RISE loan helped us cover rent, make payroll and pay other business expenses that didn’t go away just because our customers did.”
RISE Miami-Dade was operated by the Dade County Federal Credit Union in partnership with three Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), or community-based lenders: Ascendus, Miami Bayside Foundation, and the Black Business Investment Fund.
Dade County Federal Credit Union maintains 11 branches including its mobile branch and is a not-for-profit financial institution that is owned by the members and operated exclusively for their benefit. Dade County Federal is the Official Credit Union of the Miami Dolphins. For more information, visit www.dcfcu.org.