UBIZ Venture Capital program assists minority-owned small biz

Photo credit: Jumpstart Inc.

Photo credit: Jumpstart Inc.

Organizations across Northeast Ohio have come together to provide financial support to UBIZ Venture Capital, an Urban League of Greater Cleveland affiliate that focuses on pre-loan technical assistance and providing growth capital to minority-owned small businesses. 

The program launched at the end of January at the Urban League’s 6th Annual Pitch Competition.

The UBIZ Venture Capital Program (UBIZ) is Phase II of the Capital Access Fund (CAF) initiative that provided $4.2 million in small business loans to 29 minority firms between 2016 and 2019.

The concept of UBIZ is to provide pre-loan counseling and technical assistance to minority businesses that have growth potential but are having difficulty securing much needed capital to scale their businesses. 

Phase I of the CAF became a reality through a collaboration between the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, National Urban League, National Development Council, Morgan Stanley Global Financial Solutions, Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, KeyBank and other regional banks and foundations. 

Phase II will make access to credit more readily available to high potential existing African-American and disadvantaged businesses in Cuyahoga County and the Greater Cleveland area.

“The UBIZ Venture Capital loan fund is a timely solution to the well documented equity gap in small minority business access to capital,” said Marsha A. Mockabee, President and CEO, of the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, in a press release. 

The new UBIZ loan fund has a goal of raising $10 million over the next 12 to 18 months. Almost $5 million in funding has already been provided by: JumpStart Inc., Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland Development Advisors, Fund for Our Economic Future, The Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga County, City of Cleveland, KeyBank, Fifth Third Bank, JP Morgan Chase and PNC Bank

“Supporting minority owned small businesses is central to our mission of helping the communities we serve thrive,” said Timothy Burke, KeyBank Northeast Ohio Market President, in a press release.

Individuals and organizations interested in applying for funding and assistance through UBIZ Venture Capital should visit www.ulcleveland.org or email [email protected]

Maria McGinnis is a senior journalism major at Kent State University and an editorial intern at The Land.

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