UBS and the Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund Provide Alternative Small Business Financing in Chicago

New York - 19 August 2013

UBS's Elevating Entrepreneurs program provides funding and resources to help small businesses grow, to create jobs and aid local economies

UBS Bank USA today announced the recent funding of a significant small business loan through the Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund (“CBOF”), demonstrating their ongoing commitment to provide access to capital to small businesses in Chicago. Chicago Mini Bus Travel™, a well-known local transportation services company, received a $250,000 loan to fund their growth.

CBOF, in Chicago, provides financing to established businesses needing $50,000 to $250,000 to help them survive and grow in tough economic conditions. The organization’s mission-based approach to lending further enhances its ability to lend to minority and women-owned businesses as well as businesses operating in low-to-moderate income communities. CBOF is a nonprofit lender created by the Valley Economic Development Center (“VEDC”) in 2012 through a partnership with UBS. VEDC is national transitional small business lender and established Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”) that provides loans to small businesses that cannot obtain financing from a traditional lender.

This effort is part of UBS’s Elevating Entrepreneurs initiative, which provides mentoring services, access to capital and educational opportunities to high-impact small business owners determined to expand and take their businesses to the next level. The program is a joint undertaking of UBS Community Affairs Americas and UBS Bank USA, and is running programs in New York and Los Angeles, in addition to Chicago.

“Chicago has the third largest population of small businesses, and we support its residents’ hard work and enterprising spirit,” said Rosemary Berkery, Vice Chairman of WMA and Chairman of UBS Bank USA. “Chicago Mini Bus Travel and its principal, Letty Vélez, exemplify our mission -- to help small businesses gain access to the tools and capital they need to succeed. On behalf of UBS, we are proud that our partner CBOF is the first lender of its kind to small businesses and hope that this is one of many loans the Fund can make to growing businesses in the area.”

Chicago Mini Bus Travel™ launched with 10 buses in 2004 and has since become the largest charter mini bus company in Chicago. The Company has experienced robust expansion over the last nine years, growing 60% in 2012 alone. The CBOF loan will specifically support the expansion of Ms. Vélez’s fleet.

“The fast success and rapid growth of Chicago Mini Bus Travel was a fantastic surprise, but I quickly realized I didn’t have the funds or resources to manage our increased capacity,” said Letty Vélez, President and CEO of Chicago Mini Bus Travel™. “Qualifying for a loan has become increasingly competitive and difficult in Chicago, but CBOF was the only organization available to support my needs. They helped my business not just survive, but thrive, and ensure that we would be around for the future.”

"VEDC is thrilled to be making small business loans to Chicago area entrepreneurs through the Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund. As the only source of capital of its kind for growing small businesses, CBOF is looking for loan applicants that want to grow their businesses and create jobs," said Roberto Barragan, President and CEO of VEDC.

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