The Urban League of Broward County has partnered with national investment bank Morgan Stanley to create a better way for minority-owned businesses in the county to get the resources they need to grow.
The two organizations announced the creation of what’s called a 'capital access fund,' a pool of money that minority-owned businesses can use as small business loans.
To announce the fund to local minority entrepreneurs, the Urban League of Broward County and Morgan Stanley held a 3M business summit at the League building in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday. More than 250 people were in attendance to hear panels on the 3Ms: money, market and management.
The Urban League of Broward County’s president and CEO, Dr. Germaine Smith-Baugh, said sometimes Broward minority business owners can feel lost in the market between Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
“So here comes Broward. We tend to get lost in the shuffle,” she said. “So I think the business climate is a lot more attractive for folks, particularly around our port.”
The expansion of Port Everglades is only one of the reasons that Morgan Stanley’s vice chairman of wealth management, Carla Harris, felt Broward County was where the company could invest in more minority business opportunities.
Harris said Broward’s Urban League already had the funding in place to build up the capital access fund program.
“We thought we had what it would take in order to help institutions like the Urban League be successful in expanding the distribution of loans,” Harris said.
Morgan Stanley’s first capital access fund partnership started in Cleveland, Ohio almost exactly one year ago.
Patricia Vernet is a small business owner. She came to the summit to network and hear from panels of successful minority business leaders, and the state Department of Economic Opportunity.
She says learning how to grow a business in a market as large as Fort Lauderdale’s has made her believe she can do it.
“For me to be in my start-up phase and I got this in the beginning lets me know I’m off to a good start,” Vernet said.