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Mayor Walsh announces formation of business capital and finance unit

Refocused small business lending will increase economic mobility and prioritize historically underserved neighborhoods and demographics.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced yesterday the formation of the Business Capital and Finance Unit in his speech at the Boston Municipal Research Bureau's annual meeting. Housed within the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, the Business Capital and Finance Unit will prioritize small business lending in historically underserved neighborhoods and demographics to support job creation in low-to-moderate income households and the revitalization of neighborhood commercial districts.

"Supporting Boston's small business economy is one of my administration's top priorities, and I am proud to add a financial tool to our small business resource toolkit," Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "By repurposing our small business loans to target strategic industries and neighborhoods, we will ensure that struggling small businesses and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to benefit, grow, and thrive in areas where we see the greatest economic development potential."

Led by John FitzGerald, the Business Capital and Finance Unit will utilize the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to distribute flexible gap financing and micro loans to restaurants, immigrant-owned businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, and industrial small businesses within the City of Boston. These flexible loans will assist businesses in rehabbing existing buildings, new construction and expansion, purchasing equipment, and startup costs.

"With Mayor Walsh's leadership we were able to reexamine and refocus our current lending strategy to support the growing sectors of business that have the potential to create jobs and revitalize neighborhoods in the most need," said John FitzGerald. "By providing a flexible financing option, we will be able to support more small businesses and entrepreneurs and promote economic mobility across the City of Boston."

Released in March 2016, the city's first-ever Small Business Plan identified approximately 400 capital providers in or serving Boston. However, the lack of availability and access to capital resources was found to be a prominent gap in Boston's small business ecosystem. To provide solutions to traditional lending challenges and introduce innovative capital resources, this new, flexible product from the City of Boston builds off of successful ongoing progress to connect small businesses and provide guidance on Boston's 250 business support organizations.

About the Mayor's Office of Economic Development
The Economic Development Cabinet's mission is to make Boston an appealing and accessible place for working families, entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors to innovate, grow, and thrive in a way that fosters inclusion, broadens opportunity, and shares prosperity, thereby enhancing the quality of life for all Bostonians and the experience for all visitors. Learn more on their website.

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