December 16, 2019

The initiative will develop and promote entrepreneurship in minority communities

Palm Beach, FL – Paragon and National Development Council (NDC) are teaming up to provide much-needed resources for minority businesses and entrepreneurs in Palm Beach County.

This initiative will accept applications starting on January 1, 2020 and is funded by a $1,950,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Mich.

Founded as a national nonprofit in 1969 and headquartered in New York City, NDC works to increase the flow of capital for investment in low-income communities. NDC directs resources, primarily, to support the development and preservation of affordable housing, the creation of jobs through training and small business lending, and the advancement of livable communities through investments in social infrastructure.

Paragon was founded in 2008, and supports the growth and prosperity of start-up, emerging, and mature minority-owned businesses in Palm Beach County and supports economic development and community development in the region.

“There are several existing small business lending programs serving the Palm Beach County area, but they are not typically focused on the unique needs of minority entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Maria Cole, President of Paragon. “The continuing constraints on access to the full range of capital and the necessary training and support networks for minority businesses still needs to be addressed.”
The importance of healthy small businesses within a holistic community development ecosystem is highlighted by the resources that Paragon and NDC will bring to Palm Beach County business owners, via the Multicultural Lending (MCL) program. The program, a strategic alliance between Paragon and NDC, has two simple goals: make access to credit more readily available to existing minority owned businesses in Palm Beach County; and create a comprehensive and connected ecosystem to provide financial capital and a wide range of services to support local minority businesses. A three-part program, MCL will offer applicants pre-loan counseling, mentoring, training, and coaching; properly structured financing designed to meet the needs and capacity of the businesses; and, post-loan counseling and technical assistance.

Paragon and NDC will offer two trainings in January 2020 to kick off the Palm Beach County Initiative:

– “Cash Reigns Supreme,” an overview of business cash management principles and processes, will be held on January 7, 2020.

– “How to Get a Loan” will provide business owners with a comprehensive understanding of the underwriting parameters utilized by credit evaluators in making credit decisions, and will be    offered in January 2020.

For more information about trainings or MCL, please call (561) 704-4543

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About Paragon Florida, Inc.

Paragon was incorporated as a Florida nonprofit corporation with the Florida Division of Corporations on May 10, 2006 and commenced operations in January 2008. Paragon’s initial mission was to be a financing entity in communities that are underserved by traditional financing entities and ensure a more balanced and representative playing field in Palm Beach County and the emerging biotech sector for Black-owned businesses In 2011, Paragon became a Community Development Financing Institution (CDFI), a designation conferred by the CDFI Fund of the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Community development is an inherent outcome of our programs – business training and access to capital which provide funding, management, training and technical assistance to local entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. By affording access to capital and business services, we increase the capacity of our businesses and community members to improve their quality of life. For more information, visit https://www.paragonfl.org/

About NDC:

For five decades, the National Development Council has been working with low- income communities across the country to support their community development strategies, initiatives and projects, with both financial and human resources. The National Development Council (NDC) has a simple mission: to bring economic opportunity to low income communities through investment in jobs, homes and community infrastructure. NDC acts as partner, teacher, investor, developer and lender, bringing together advisory services and capital for community and economic investment. For more information, visit https://ndconline.org/

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation:

WKKF was founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. WKKF is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org