Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash.

Strengthening small businesses in Hunts Point and Port Morris is the objective of a new borough-wide economic stimulus program, through which some businesses will be eligible for up to $350,000 in loans. 

The funding is geared toward small businesses looking to scale up their operations, with loans ranging from $5,000 to $350,000 each for expenses like payroll, inventory purchases, and new equipment.

The loans, with 10 year maturity terms, will be mainly for communities within neighborhoods in the New York Empowerment Zone that are considered low-to-moderate income, with flexible interest rates between 2.5% and 6%.

In all, the New York Empowerment Zone Corporation loan program has $10 million of state money available to distribute, enabled through a Community Advantage Loan Fund. It will be administered by the Bronx Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with the Business Initiative Corporation of New York.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson said the funding has been sitting “unused for decades,” and “has the potential of creating local good-paying jobs to help fuel and boost our economy.”

Rep. Ritchie Torres, whose congressional district includes Port Morris, said the loan program will help strengthen South Bronx small businesses’ inventory, and “expand their footprint to support economic development in communities that need it the most. I encourage all small business owners to apply to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”

According to the Center for an Urban Future, new business applications in the Bronx were up 66 percent between 2019 and 2021, the biggest jump among the five boroughs. 

The program is geared to “helping to promote mom and pop shops that are looking to thrive, and helping entrepreneurs,” according to Rob Walsh, president of the Bronx Economic Development Corp. “Now that our new loan fund has been approved the real work begins. I have already begun hearing from dedicated businesses owners and entrepreneurs who, with access to our new loan, are looking to create jobs and expand here in the Bronx.”

Business owners interested in applying for a loan can contact Rafael Roger at 

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