Applications are open for a Miami-Dade County loan that is giving priority to small businesses that have not received federal or state stimulus aid to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
RISE Miami-Dade Fund, managed through the Dade County Federal Credit Union and other community financial inclusion institutions, is funded with $25 million from the CARES Act. It was approved by the county commission last month.
This loan comes at a crucial time for small business owners such as restaurants, which have had to reduce the number of employees and are experiencing reduced profits due to new restrictions implemented in response to the spread of the pandemic.
Hundreds of businesses from across Miami-Dade have already submitted applications.
Annie Wilkinson, executive vice president of the Dade County Federal Credit Union, said that the objective is to benefit those small businesses that did not obtain the Payment Protection Loan (PPP) or any other kind of loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
RISE also is intended to help companies that did not get loans because they have a low credit score.
Companies that have already received other types of aid can apply for the loan, but they will be reviewed after financial help goes to those businesses that have not received other aid.
Wilkinson said applications from single-owner businesses are also being accepted.
A study by Florida International University indicated that so-called micro-businesses, those with fewer than 10 employees, account for 81.3 percent of businesses in Miami-Dade. More than 82,000 small businesses hire 53.3 percent of the county’s workforce.
Small businesses often do hat have access to banking services or struggle to gather the necessary documentation to obtain the loans.
Fabiana Estrada, director of ACCIÓN, one of the financial inclusion companies that administers the funds in conjunction with the County Credit Union, said the loans come with low interest rates and without restrictions.
“The businesses can use the money to pay the rent or for working capital,” Estrada said.
The loan is offered at a 3.25 percent interest rate and payable in three years. One of its advantages is that business owners do not have to make payments during the first three months, nor do they accrue interest.
To determine the amount to be issued, the lending institutions will take into account three months’ worth of rent or mortgage on the home — if the business operates from a house — or the lease, if the business operates at a commercial site.
Loans will be limited to a maximum of $30,000.
The rent payment agreements that businesses are currently reaching with property owners due to COVID-19 almost always entail the payment of a penalty, once the sales recover.
Wilkinson said RISE loans will give recipients time to reassess and reorganize business strategies without losing additional money.
Businesses must be located in Miami-Dade and their owners must be residents of the county.
▪ They must have been operating for two years.
▪ Have an income of less than $2 million and fewer than 25 employees.
▪ A credit score of at least 535 and have not filed for bankruptcy within the past three years.
To apply, visit risemiamidade.com.
For more information call Fabiana Estrada at 305-699-0985 or Annie Wilkinson at 305-593-3320.