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Clearwater Business SPARK Announces New Partnership with Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation

Post Date:10/03/2017 12:17 PM

Clearwater Business SPARK is proud to add Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation as its newest partner in its network to support entrepreneurs and small businesses in the area. 

Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation will partner with Clearwater Business SPARK and the city of Clearwater to help expand business opportunities, facilitate community development and encourage economic development in the North Greenwood and Lake Belleview communities. 

Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation will focus on creating new business opportunities, providing access to capital for entrepreneurs and helping businesses build capacity to access capital in the future. 

Under the partnership with Clearwater Business SPARK, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation will engage entrepreneurs in workshops, one-on-one consultations in the community, intensive and extensive mentoring and provide a limited number of business loans to qualified entrepreneurs in Clearwater. 

“Adding Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation as a partner of the Clearwater Business SPARK network allows us to enhance the services we provide and extend our reach in the community to support all entrepreneurs and small businesses,’’ said Audra Aja, Clearwater Business SPARK program coordinator. “We are proud to work with an organization with the expertise to deliver this much needed support.” 

Funding support for the programs and consulting services will be provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program administered by the city of Clearwater’s Economic Development and Housing Department. 

“The city of Clearwater is thrilled to partner with Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation to bring these valuable programs and services to the North Greenwood and Lake Belleview communities,” said Denise Sanderson, the city of Clearwater’s Economic Development and Housing Department director. “Our goal is to encourage business growth, development, investment and job creation in these economically vulnerable areas, and we believe Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation can help us achieve that goal through their efforts and expertise.” 

Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation is a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution created in 1987 to meet the need for capital and capacity-building services among African-American entrepreneurs who were then entering the business community in growing numbers. Today, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation serves entrepreneurs of all races and ethnicities, with a continued focus on borrowers who are not yet ready to access bank loans. 

Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation provides accessible, flexible capital combined with development services that help entrepreneurs expand their credit capacity, offering loan sizes not offered through banks ($500 to $100,000), at interest rates that can be less costly than bank products, with underwriting that permits credit scores that are lower than the disqualifying threshold for many banks. 

Since 2013, the organization has expanded its service footprint into low-income communities across Tampa Bay through partnerships with city governments and funders in St. Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton. 

“Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation is honored to be a partner with the city of Clearwater in helping to close the capital gap in communities where entrepreneurship can become an engine of economic growth,” said Albert Lee, Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation chief executive officer. “Our Small Business Capital Accelerator Project is helping more aspiring entrepreneurs to launch or grow their firms. We look forward to seeing the same successes in North Greenwood and Lake Belleview.” 

Clearwater Business SPARK is a network of partners who support local small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their business. Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation joins the partnership network that includes Pinellas County SCORE, the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, Florida Small Business Development Center at Pinellas County Economic Development, the city of Clearwater’s Economic Development and Housing Department, Clearwater Public Library System, Clearwater Community Redevelopment Agency, Prospera, formerly Hispanic Business Initiative Fund (HBIF), and Florida Business Incubator, formerly known as TAFFIE.

Clearwater Business SPARK provides business programs and services including business planning and coaching, educational programs, networking opportunities, guidance for doing business with the federal government and international markets and incubator services. Clearwater Business SPARK also offers access to databases and market research tools, a variety of co-working, meeting and training spaces and hands-on tools and activities at Studios@Main, a unique makerspace located within the Clearwater Main Library. 

To learn more about Clearwater Business SPARK and its partners, visit ClearwaterBusinessSPARK.com or contact Audra Aja, Clearwater Business SPARK program coordinator, at (727) 443-0217 or email at info@ClearwaterBusinessSPARK.com.