by Tequila Higgins
On Monday, May 18, 2020, ex-NBA legend Erving “Magic” Johnson announced on several news outlets that he and his company (Magic Johnson Enterprises) have partnered with MBE Capital to provide loans to minority- and women-owned small businesses as a result of the effects of the Coronavirus. These loans will be funded through Johnson’s insurance company, EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, and provided through the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program.
In April, when the government passed the $2 trillion stimulus plan, it initially set aside $349 billion to assist small business owners, but within a 2 week span, that money depleted and larger “small businesses,” such as the LA Lakers, were receiving millions of dollars [$4.6 million to be exact] to keep business afloat. Even after the government added an additional $60 million for small business aid, it has still been hard for Black and Latino small business owners to obtain stimulus aid due to their lack of relationships with bigger banks. Needless to say, without any financial aid, many of these businesses are in jeopardy of closing down due to present day conditions.
“Rafael Martinez, CEO of MBE, said the funds would look to help 100,000 businesses in urban communities. Applicants are vetted using the SBA guidelines. Martinez said the application process is now simplified, making ‘it easier to qualify for these loans’.” MBE has been processing up to 5,000 loans per day and working endlessly to ensure that these minority- and women-owned companies are afforded the same opportunities as other businesses. Most of these businesses have been in the urban communities for many years, so Johnson and Martinez, with the help of Rev. Al Sharpton, want to do their part in helping these businesses stay open.