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The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida launches direct loan pilot program

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida launches direct loan pilot program for women-owned businesses

Nov. 26, 2012 - PRLog -- The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is partnering with the regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF) in Sarasota, a non-profit loan company, to offer women business owners access to capital for their business start-up or expansion. Initially, The Women’s Fund will strive to connect prospective clients in Collier, Hendry and Glades counties to capital through EDIF’s Rural Microenterprise Revolving Fund (RMAP). Women business owners and entrepreneurs in Hendry, Glades and Collier counties are eligible to apply. Loan amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000, depending upon the needs and qualifications of applicants.  

The program will be expanded to Lee and Collier counties as the revolving loan fund increases. As part of the pilot program, entrepreneurs can also apply for training and technical assistance at SBDC to boost their development and ongoing success. To request an application for more information, email contact@womensfundflorida.org.

According to the recent Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey, 78 percent of Florida small businesses were not able to get financing.

“A cross-sector effort by financial institutions, The Women’s Fund, and other investors to establish a revolving loan fund will bring much needed access to capital to the women-owned businesses in our region. Even though women owned businesses outperformed men’s during the last recession, lack of access to capital continues to hold these small businesses back. We believe women can be key players in recharging our region’s economy if their businesses are better positioned to flourish,” said Tate.

The Women’s Fund recently released research findings on the status of women in Southwest Florida, examining four core areas including population and diversity, employment and income, achievement and autonomy, health and well-being. The Women’s Fund commissioned the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University to investigate the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida in order to benchmark progress, inform public policy, set funding priorities and programming, and to inspire demand for additional knowledge about the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Founding members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, president; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair and Lou Pontius, Chair.

To schedule a presentation by The Women’s Fund, contact Brenda Tate at 239-281-2233. For more information and to view the executive summary of The Status of Women in Southwest Florida report, visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org/ or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

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