On November 28, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the launch of the Capital Access Fund (CAF) of Florida during the M3 Business Summit: Money, Markets & Management held at the Urban League of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, located at 560 NW 27th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311.
The CAF was created as a partnership with Morgan Stanley, National Urban League Urban Empowerment Fund (NUL-UEF), National Development Council (NDC), and the Urban League of Broward County (ULBC). The Fund is an $8 million lending program to provide access to capital and business education for minority entrepreneurs, as well as promotes sustainability, creates jobs and builds community wealth in Florida.
“We are so grateful to be in this powerful partnership that embraces this gross inefficiency that’s in the market and creates capital opportunities for small businesses in this community,” said Carla Harris, vice chairman, managing director & senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley. “When you create businesses, you create jobs; when you create jobs, you create wealth; when you create wealth, you enrich the community; and that is what we all, individually and collectively, should be about.”
The Urban League of Broward County entered into an agreement with the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) to establish, administer and market a loan guarantee program to stimulate access to credit for minority small business owners. As part of the agreement, the Urban League sought investors to raise private, non-state capital to achieve a required four-to-one match for funds provided by the DEO. The CAF of Florida joins initial investors BankUnited and Florida Community Bank in helping ULBC to satisfy the match requirement.
“The Urban League is absolutely committed to the idea of building strong small businesses owned by people of color, especially African-Americans and the reason why we are committed to it, is because it fulfills our mission of job creation, economic self-sufficiency. People owning a piece of the American dream,” said Marc Morial, president & CEO of the National Urban League.
The M3 Business Summit served as the launch for the CAF of Florida and provided an engaging forum of panel discussions and presentations focused on solutions to assist minority owned businesses with issues faced in today’s business climate. Over 200 individuals attended the Summit which addressed topics including: Introduction to the Capital Access Fund; Minority and Women Entrepreneurs: Building Capital, Network and Skills; Attracting Investment Capital; Money: Credit and Financial Literacy and Markets and Management.
“This fund is going to create an opportunity for businesses to grow. Anybody that has built a business anywhere around the country knows that access to capital is difficult and it seems like it has become more difficult over the last few years,” expressed Florida Governor Rick Scott. “My goal is that in Florida, we have the best chance to get a job, best chance to get a great education, and best chance to live safely anywhere in the world and hopefully this makes it a success.”