During his NBA career, Earvin Johnson, better known as Magic Johnson, played with exceptional vision. Though he could score with the best of them, he was even better at dishing the ball to his teammates to help them score. When he retired he was the all-time NBA leader in assists. He used his vision to help his team by making those around him better.
These days Magic has turned that vision toward the communities that surround him. As the CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises, he’s worked to help strengthen the economic and social standing of communities, particularly those with a strong minority presence.
Now, in the face of COVID-19 pandemic that has had an immense impact on many small businesses, Johnson is stepping up again to help. He has announced that Magic Johnson Enterprises, along with minority-run business-to-business services group MBE Capital Partners, is offering $100 million in loans that are specifically for minority and women-owned businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
The loans will be funded by EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, another Johnson-owned business, and dispersed by MBE Capital Partners through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
Despite the $2 trillion stimulus package the federal government rolled out in April, money dedicated to PPP funds went fast and many minority business owners were left out because they may not have had an existing relationship with banks.
In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Johnson talked about why he wanted to reach out to help these small, minority-owned businesses.
“We have to remember that these businesses have been in urban communities for a long time,” Johnson said. “They’ve been doing great things, and they probably didn’t have a relationship with the banks when the stimulus package went out. So now, we’re able to say, ‘Hey, you can have a relationship with us.’”
The $100 million is expected to help 100,000 urban businesses. Rafael Martinez, CEO of MBE, said that the application process has been simplified, making it easier for these minority-owned businesses to qualify for help. Those looking to apply can start on MBE’s PPP page.
Tyler Omoth is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.