The Black Business Investment Fund of Central Florida (BBIF), a nonprofit organization was established in 1987 and began operations in 1988 in Central Florida. The organization, certified by the State of Florida as a Black Business Investment Corporation (BBIC), is one of eight BBICs established out of Florida’ statute, the Florida Small and Minority Business Act of 1985 to provide loans to Black-owned businesses.
In addition to providing loan capital, the BBIF is an established leader in facilitating smart growth for businesses. To assisting businesses in achieving “smart business growth”, the BBIF delivers its financial technical assistance by impacting holistically the following areas: access to capital, improved capacity, expanded relationships via networking and business opportunities. Additionally, in partnership with the BBCFC, a 501 © 3 organization, the BBIF provides business networking and community outreach activities to minority-owned businesses.
Through added loan products, the BBIF has expanded its lending services to assist both minority and small business owners and has become the premier direct loan lender to minority and small businesses through out the state of Florida.
- October 1987, the Central Florida financial community, led by SunTrust Bank, invested a total of $625,000.00 into the loan fund, which was matched dollar for dollar by the State of Florida for a total of $1.25 million in seed capital for the BBIF.
- February 1988, the BBIF officially began operations providing loan guarantees to Central Florida’s Black businesses located in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Lake Counties.
- February 1993, BBIF formed the Black Business Capital Finance Corporation (BBCFC), a non-profit 501©3 organization.
- August 1995, BBIF developed and approved a 10 year Strategic Plan to re-capitalize the loan fund.
- 1992-1998, numerous partners added additional loan capital to the BBIF, SunTrust Bank, Barnett Bank, AmSouth Bank, and the State of Florida (FBBIB).
- By September 1998, the BBIF in partnership with its banking partners helped to provide $15 Million in loans to Black businesses throughout Central Florida.
- October 1999, BBIF, led by City Commissioner Daisy Lynum, took a group of 26 Black business owners on a Trade Mission to West Africa’s Senegal, Ghana, and Cote D’Ivoire. Accompanying her on the trip was, State Representative Alzo Reddick and County Commissioner Mable Butler.
- January 2002, the BBIF became certified by the US Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and later that year as a Community Development Enterprise (CDE). This important and crucial certification allows for the BBIF to become a developer of economic depressed communities.
- In 2005, BBIF partnered with eight other Black Business Investment Corporation’s and formed the Consortium of BBICs for Statewide investment opportunities.
- August 2006, BBIF purchased the Historical Site of the Carver Theatre, 1.3 acres located at the corner of West Church Street and Parramore.
- In 2007, BBIF receives $17.5 million CRA incentive grant from the City of Orlando for its Renaissance at Carver Square redevelopment project
- In September 2009, BBIF selected to administer the State of Florida’s $8.5 million Economic Gardening Loan program
- FYE 9/30/2009, BBIF has helped to sustain and create 9901 jobs in the local community
- May 2010, the BBIF raised $1.05 million for a micro loan fund from the SBA and the ECLA
BBIFhas made a significant impact by providing over $32 million in business loans. BBIF’s loan assistance has helped to create and sustain over 9900 new jobs for an economic impact in excess of $300 million into the economy with a historical loan loss of 3%.
Supporting Business Growth and Development in the Urban Core
Strengthening an Inner City Business
BBIF’s community revitalization through economic development is shown in its work with Mr. Bob Burns, of R.L. Burns, Inc., one of Orlando’s few large African American commercial general contractors. Over the years, Mr. Burns has built many of the structures at Walt Disney World, being one of the few minority contractors allowed to work on Disney’s property expansions.
After several years in the business, Mr. Burns almost lost his business. He was unable to attain the commercial credit and bonding needed from the traditional banking community to support and grow his business. BBIF worked with Mr. Burns to help him attain the capital that he needed to support his business and finance growth. BBIF also assisted by leveraging a network of local public and private partners to help Mr. Burns attain contracts. Mr. Burns went on to build many of the Bank of America branches throughout the state as well as many public schools and airport projects. In addition, Mr. Burns proceeded to “Grow his business the Smart Way” by utilizing BBIF management training, the monthly roundtables, as a tool to help him successfully plan, implement and manage his contractual opportunities and obligations and to further facilitate businesses growth.