Related Midwest, Magellan Development, Sterling Bay, Clayco, the Chicago Federation of Labor and Chicagoland Associated General Contractors announced the creation of a program to guarantee capital for minority- and women-owned businesses in the construction and professional services industries. This first-of-its-kind, cross-industry effort represents an innovative initiative to increase diversity and inclusion in the development and construction industry by breaking down barriers to capital for small businesses and providing financial and operation support services.
Through this effort, businesses that are awarded loans will also receive valuable mentorship and advisory services, such as management, technical, financial and contract procurement assistance, in addition to loan and bond packaging services provided by Related Midwest, Magellan Development and other sponsors. The loans, supported by CIBC, Chicago Neighborhood Initiative, Liberty Bank, Providence Bank & Trust and Wintrust Bank, are offered as lines of credit, feature competitive interest rates and will be awarded in various amounts depending on the scope and size of the small business.
“This fund represents the first time that so many industry partners have come together to pursue a common goal of activating the talent and business capacity that exists in our industry but has been held back by a lack of access to capital,” said Don Biernacki, senior vice president of construction at Related Midwest. “I’m thrilled that major industry players are coming together to invest in small businesses and ensure that we do our part to create a more inclusive industry. Access to capital will increase these businesses’ ability to compete for valuable business opportunities, and we’re proud to invest in their success.”
“At Magellan, we’re constantly seeking new ways to collaborate with like-minded businesses to advance growth opportunities for minorities and underrepresented groups in the Chicago area,” said David Carlins, president of Magellan Development Group. “This pilot program enables local talent to receive the opportunities they deserve. We are thrilled to be included.”
On Aug. 15, Related Midwest and its industry partners hosted “Paving a Path to the Future,” a fundraising event to kick off the fund and announce the first seven loan recipients, which were all minority-owned businesses and included three women-owned businesses. The event raised more than $700,000 and brought together 600 people including small businesses, contractors, laborers and developers to network, partner and collaborate.
“Never before in our industry has there been an initiative that will have such a big impact on the landscape for women- and minority-owned businesses,” said Don Finn, business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. “This is the kind of opportunity that would normally be called ‘once in a lifetime,’ but we’re going to make sure that it becomes more frequent for more small businesses here in Chicago, and that’s what’s so remarkable about it. IBEW is proud to be a sponsor.”
“As Sterling Bay continues to expand its footprint in Chicago, we’re committed to increasing the number of job opportunities available to minority- and women-owned business owners who share this city with us,” said Andy Gloor, CEO of Sterling Bay. “We hope that this joint partnership we’ve forged to build a first-of-its-kind loan fund will set an example and help further the building industry’s progress in embracing diversity and inclusion in all facets of the business.”
“At Clayco, our team believes in creating opportunity to cause ‘upward mobility’ for the entire Chicago community and we are honored to be associated with such esteemed partners in this effort,” said Clayco CEO Bob Clark.