UBS and VEDC Announce First Small Business Loan in New York Metro Area

New York - 28 April 2014

Barganz, a wholesale distributor of women's handbags, will receive a $500,000 loan through UBS’s Elevating Entrepreneurs program

UBS and VEDC today announced the funding of a $500,000 small business loan to Barganza, a women's handbag wholesaler and distributor operating in the Manhattan Fashion District since 1983. This loan demonstrates UBS's on-going commitment to providing access to capital for small business owners through the firm’s Elevating Entrepreneurs initiative, a philanthropic effort that to date has resulted in the creation or retention of 1,237 jobs.

In December 2013, UBS in partnership with VEDC launched the Tri-State Business Opportunity Fund (TBOF) for small business owners in the region. TBOF will provide up to $20 million of alternative financing solutions for qualified small business owners in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut seeking loans of $50,000 to $500,000. TBOF is fulfilling an important need for this market, as such funding is not readily accessible.

TBOF is part of UBS’s Elevating Entrepreneurs program, which provides under-resourced, high-potential small business owners with mentoring, access to capital, and education & networking opportunities. Elevating Entrepreneurs is a joint undertaking of UBS Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas and UBS Bank USA, with UBS Bank USA providing the financing.

"We are thrilled that the first loan in the Tri-State area will support a small business in New York's famed Fashion District, a community that has launched some of America's most recognizable brands," said Lori Feinsilver, Head of Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, UBS Americas. "Like so many communities across the Tri-state area, this neighborhood is defined by its energetic and passionate entrepreneurs. TBOF underscores our commitment to the region and to helping small businesses across the country succeed and grow."

Barganza, Inc. is owned and operated by Ronald and Helga Gordon, a husband and wife team who have provided women's handbags to major national retailers since 1983. Many of these larger retailers rely on Barganza’s expertise in the India and China manufacturing system and international distribution channels. Barganza’s sales and business grew steadily until it was deeply affected by the 2008 financial crisis. As the company began to stabilize in 2012, they were further impacted by Hurricane Sandy and the cancellation of the 2012 NYC Fashion Market Week, an event critical to Barganza’s 2013 winter and spring orders. The Gordons approached five different financial institutions before they were referred to VEDC. The $500,000 loan will allow Barganza to continue operations and fulfil new purchase orders.

Roberto Barragan, President and CEO of VEDC, added: "There is an overwhelming need for funding among small businesses in the New York Tri-State area, and VEDC is here to provide alternative financing to help them move forward and expand. We are delighted to announce the funding of our first business loan in the Tri-State area to Barganza, a long-standing member of New York's Fashion District.”

Through a $5.5 million multi-year grant, UBS is supporting VEDC's national expansion efforts and helping small business owners around the country succeed. Alongside the $20 million in capital available in the New York metro area, a total of $32 million in capital is now available for loans to small businesses in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Nevada and Utah. To date, more than $9.1 million has been loaned to 47 small businesses.     

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