Over the last several years, there has been a push to support black-owned businesses within the African American community. For Florida-based Inez Long, that means going the extra mile to make sure aspiring black entrepreneurs had access to the capital they needed to succeed.
Last year, the president and CEO of the Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF) raised $31 million for the organization through major investors with companies like Wells Fargo, TD Bank, PNC Bank, City of Orlando, and SunTrust Community Capital. BBIF is a nonprofit, mission-driven, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that helps Florida-based businesses obtain loan capital and provide business development training. Since she has entered her role in 1991, Long has provided over $47.6 million in loans to over 400 black and brown businesses, creating over 12,000 jobs.
Some of the major partners the investment fund works with include Walt Disney World, Central Florida Urban League, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Seacoast Bank, and the Orlando Magic.
The organization, created in 1987, was designed to help black-owned businesses in the Central Florida community so that they could thrive and bring in new economic opportunities to African American and minority neighborhoods. The fund helps entrepreneurs through the process by providing flexible loan terms and free financial training. Since then, BBIF has grown from a small regional fund to one of Florida’s leading statewide lenders specializing in providing the necessary capital to black and other minority businesses. It is currently the largest minority-led Community Development Financial Institution in the state of Florida.
The central Florida native has over 28 years of combined experience in the financial services industry and an M.B.A. from the University of Central Florida. As CEO of the investment fund, Long’s goal is to stabilize low-income neighborhoods by investing in economic development projects that would benefit underserved, marginalized communities and create sustainable jobs.