We're working to create intentional impact.
With the help of our community partners and sponsors, I am excited to announce the launch of our IMPACT Loan Fund. This fund, focused and designed for African American small business owners, is a revolving, low-interest loan pool to support current and future small business owners operating in the Historic 4th Avenue Business District, Civil Rights District and Bimringham neighborhoods. We will introduce a series of loan products ranging from $500 to $25,000 to qualifying women and minority small business owners.
Building sustainable and vibrant communities through small business growth and entrepreneurship is imperative if we are to make considerable progress in a city that is 70% African American. Crime, blight, and even the loss of community hope can be attributed to a lack of economic growth and neighborhood investment.
Over the course of the last three years, Urban Impact (UII) has engaged several African American small businesses in the Historic 4th Avenue Business District and the surrounding neighborhoods of Fountain Heights, Smithfield, North Birmingham, and Titusville. Our engagement confirmed that there is still a huge gap in financing and capital access needs, which in many cases has a direct effect on the ability of our small businesses to grow and flourish.
Black business owners start businesses with half the capital of White business owners, and research has shown that businesses that start with more capital have higher survival rates. This lack of funding may contribute to Black firms having a higher failure rate, even though they exhibit a higher birth rate than their White counterparts.