RISE Miami-Dade business relief fund announces new guidelines and deadline

The loan program extends the deadline and changes qualification requirements to assist more businesses in Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade small businesses have a few more weeks to take advantage of a relief loan fund. And with new eligibility requirements, even more businesses can take advantage of it.

Originally seeded with $25 million of federal stimulus money, the fund, called RISE Miami-Dade, has $14 million left to distribute before the federally mandated Dec. 31 deadline. Stimulus monies not disbursed by then must be returned to the federal government.

Loan applications must be submitted by Dec. 20. To apply, business owners can visit RiseMiamiDade.com, which offers an FAQ section in English, Spanish and Creole. Or they can take advantage of a new phone service at 305-593-3311.

“We understand the urgency of this moment, and we see that our community’s small businesses are still struggling with the economic impacts of the pandemic. Which is why we felt it was crucial to do even more to ensure these relief funds could get into the hands of as many Miami-Dade small businesses as possible,” said George Joseph, CEO of the Dade County Federal Credit Union, which operates the fund. “By opening up the requirements and changing the eligibility factors, we believe we’re making it easier for businesses to access the support they need right now.”

These modified qualifying measures for small businesses include the following:

  • A maximum of 50 employees (up from the original 25)
  • A maximum annual revenue of $5 million (up from the original $2 million)
  • A minimum credit of 520 (down from the original 575)

In addition, the maximum loan amount is now $45,000 (up from $30,000). Loans must be paid back, but the first loan payment is now deferred until Feb. 1, 2022. (Originally, payments had been slated to start three months after a loan was granted.) Though RISE loans do not qualify for forgiveness (unlike the Paycheck Protection Program), the 3.25% interest rate is ideal for business owners, who must have a business tax receipt to apply.

RISE Miami-Dade was created by a unanimous vote of the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners in June, when commissioners agreed to allocate $25 million of the federal CARES Act stimulus package to create a loan fund for local small and micro businesses—the mom-and-pop shops that had been largely left out of other relief programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or the Small Business Administration’s disaster loans. Though having received support from those programs has never disqualified a small business from accessing a RISE loan, the funds are more flexible in use than other programs; for example, a RISE loan can be used to cover payroll or rent, to purchase technology or to cover any business-related expense.
RISE made it a priority to seek out and support Black-, women- and minority-owned small businesses that have historically lacked access to capital but that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic-induced economic crisis. The program also provides one-on-one assistance to business owners who need help gathering documents or with technology. Since the summer, more than 400 businesses in Miami-Dade have received more than $7 million in loans, helping businesses such as legal offices in Aventura, dry cleaners in North Miami and hair salons in Kendall.
One such business was JLouis Dry Cleaner in North Miami, owned by Johnson Louis (pictured above).
“Our services depend on the customers who go to church, schools, weddings and parties,” he says. “With the shutdown, these events stopped and the need for our services came to a halt.” After being denied PPP and SBA loans, JLouis Dry Cleaner successfully secured a RISE loan which he used “to cover rent and make payroll and pay other business expenses that didn’t go away just because my customers did.”
RISE Miami-Dade is operated by the Dade County Federal Credit Union in partnership with three Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), or community-based lenders: Ascendus, Miami Bayside Foundation and the Black Business Investment Fund.
Keren Moros
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