Former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson announced that his company, Equitrust, has partnered with MBE Capital Partners to provide $100 million in loans to minority-owned businesses impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It has left countless businesses struggling to get back on track amid the restrictions currently in place. Unfortunately, this is especially true for those that are owned by minorities.
The loans set to be distributed through the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program will be targeting this specific demographic. The goal is to have 100,000 businesses up and running through the end of the outbreak.
Johnson elaborated on having the opportunity to provide some assistance during these trying times in an appearance on MSNBC:
“These are incredible businesses, small businesses, that have been the pillar of our community that also employ a lot of black and brown people in our community. So what we did, we came together in partnership, MBE Capital, Equitrust and I, and we wanted to make sure that minority-owned businesses got small business loans through the PPP program.
“I will write a $100 million check, and Rafael (Martinez) and his company will deploy that money and make sure they vet the small business in our community. This is really a powerful two companies coming together, to make sure these women-owned business, these minority-owned businesses, can still survive and thrive during this time.”
The federal government put together a stimulus package with the Small Business Administration’s emergency coronavirus relief program in order to provide support during the pandemic. However, it quickly became evident that those operated by minorities were having much more difficulty gaining access to the loans with big banks opting to prioritize larger businesses.
The lack of funding has clearly left this demographic at a severe disadvantage as they try to navigate through the ongoing outbreak without having to shut down shop. It was estimated in April by The Center for Responsible Lending that roughly 95% of black-owned businesses, 91% of Latino-owned businesses, 91% of Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander-owned businesses were unlikely to receive a PPP loan through a mainstream bank or credit union.
Johnson was admittedly surprised when he found out his Lakers were among those that received $4.6 million SBA loan before crediting them with paying it back. Although his legacy as an NBA all-timer has long been set in stone, his actions off the court continue to transcend his achievements in basketball.