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

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

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

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 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.

Notes to Editors

About UBS's Elevating Entrepreneurs Initiative

Elevating Entrepreneurs was created by UBS to empower small business owners to do more by providing resources that seldom are available to companies of their size. Specifically, the initiative pairs an emerging entrepreneur with a UBS financial advisor and his or her client who has had success in a related industry. In doing so, the program provides high-potential entrepreneurs with the access, advice and education that will help them move their businesses to the next level.

The flagship program, which has $15 million in loan funds available, was originally established in partnership with the Clinton Economic Opportunity (CEO) Initiative in 2011 as UBS' Clinton Global Initiative commitment. The program launched in New York (2011), Los Angeles (2012), Chicago (2012), and is expanding to additional markets this year. Through our loan partners we have provided:

  • Valley Economic Development Corporation: $5.1 million in loan commitments; 23 businesses financed; 326 jobs created
  • Chicago Business Opportunity Fund: $550,000 in loan commitments; 3 businesses financed; 42 jobs created

About the Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund

Chicagoland Business Opportunity Fund offers a fair alternative when traditional lending isn't an option. The VEDC partnered with UBS and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce to provide financing for existing businesses needing $50,000 to $250,000 to help them survive and expand during this struggling economy. VEDC, through its national brand, Aquaria Funds, is a national transitional small business lender that loans money to small businesses that have less than perfect credit and have not been able to obtain financing from a traditional lender. As a Community Development Financial Institution, VEDC has been supporting small business owners for 36 years with the goal of making economic dreams a reality. For more information contact Cynthia Ryan at 630.427.7580 or

About Chicago Mini Bus Travel / Letty Vélez

Leticia "Letty" Vélez started Chicago Mini Bus Travel in 2004. Today with a strong management team and a strategic plan for growth, focused on providing their clients with a partnership for safe, reliable and affordable option for their transportation needs, Chicago Mini Bus Travel is growing at a rate of over 50%.

Ms. Vélez and CMBT has been featured many times highlighting her philanthropic activities, including in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Crain's, Negocios NOW, Enterprising Women Magazine, La Raza newspaper, Good Morning America, Univision, and Latina Style Magazine.. Ms. Vélez is a Board Member or Member of: Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP, Washington DC), Mujeres Latinas en Accion; Enterprising Women Magazine; Instituto del Progresso Latino (IDPL), Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce ( Past Board Member PRCC); the Latino Coalition, National Latina Business Women Association (NLBWA), the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC, Past Board Member, still a current member), City of Chicago Task Force (Past Board Member), Cook County Workforce Investment Board (Past Board Member), NAWBO (Past member, National Association Women Business Owners), and Women's President Organization (Past Member WPO). She founded the "Chicago's Golden Circle", a group of small business owners that graduated from the 10,000 Small Businesses Program. Follow us on Twitter: @UBSAmericas


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KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Illinois  New York


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