From Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson 

On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners approved and executed the annual grant agreements between Orange County and the Black Business Investment Fund, Inc. (BBIF) and Prospera (formerly referred to as the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida, Inc. or HBIF), at their Board meeting. Funding in the amount of $146,912 was provided in the FY 2017-18 adopted budget for BBIF, and $133,650 for Prospera. Both organizations provide essential resources to residents of racial minorities who are seeking an opportunity to build a career in business. The purpose of this article is to inform those who are unfamiliar with these organizations of the many benefits that it provides and emphasize the importance of their contributions to Orange County.

Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson

BBIF Florida (BBIF) is a nonprofit, mission-driven, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that helps Florida businesses thrive by providing loan capital alongside with business development training. In addition, BBIF helps to stabilize low-income, distressed neighborhoods by investing in economic development projects that stabilize communities and create jobs. Created in 1987 out of a Florida Statute, BBIF Florida was originally charged with the purpose of providing loan capital to black businesses in the Central Florida Community. The organization has grown from a small regional loan fund to Florida’s leading statewide lender that specializes in providing capital to black, other minority and underserved businesses.

Since its establishment, BBIF has provided over 385 loans totaling over $45.7 million, retaining and creating over 12,705 jobs. In 2015, the organization was awarded their first New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation of $20 million, and their second in 2016, with another identical allocation. BBIF has closed NMTC projects that have created over $64 million in economic development projects in underserved communities and created over 884 permanent jobs.

BBIF had interacted with over 3,250 business owners and professionals in Fiscal Year 2016 through its Financial Technical Assistance roundtable program.

This organization offers 5 different types of loans: The Black Business Loan Fund; Micro Loan Fund; Contract Financing Loan Fund; Small Business Loan Fund; and New Markets Tax Credit for Small Businesses. For more information on these loans and what they have to offer, residents access the following link:

BBIF also offers different forms of training for businesses. These forms of training include the following: Business Owners Roundtable; one-on-one counseling; and orientations. For more information on these forms of training and what each one has to offer, residents can go to the following link:

Prospera is an economic development, nonprofit organization that specializes in providing bilingual assistance to Hispanic entrepreneurs who are trying to establish or expand their business. This organization empowers Hispanic entrepreneurs through training, support and resources so their businesses can grow and flourish. Prospera is able to serve entrepreneurs and the community without charging for its services, thanks to investments in its mission by generous corporations, individuals and government agencies.

With a business model created by Hispanic Entrepreneurs for Hispanic Entrepreneurs proven effective since 1991, Prospera’s services range from a broad-spectrum, from offering information about small business resources to establishing or expanding a business. Prospera clients can receive assistance from in-house business consultants, subcontracted experts, workshop presenters, and volunteers from various industries who serve on advisory committees. In addition, Prospera offers access to a network of corporate sponsors, government funders and financial institutions with a desire to support small and minority-owned businesses.

Prospera’s quality professional services include the following: Business seminars; consulting; grants; and access to capital. In the last 25 years of service, Prospera has consulted more than 13,000 entrepreneurs and has helped them to create or retain more than 15,000 jobs across the state. For more information on these services, residents can go to In addition, Prospera also offers events, such as orientations and workshops, and grants, including Marketing Plans and Legal Assessments.

Last year, Prospera did the following: Helped clients create or retain 3,115 jobs; helped entrepreneurs apply for loans totaling at $8,922,112; offered ongoing consulting and support to 1,915 entrepreneurs in Florida; invested $335,505 in grants for subcontracted professional services to clients; and trained 4,729 entrepreneurs in business seminars in Spanish. Prospera’s total impact on the state’s economy has been $1.5 billion since 1991.

Both BBIF and Prospera are just 2 of a number of programs that Orange County funds to help support our small businesses and entrepreneurs.


  1. I have read the Apopka Chief Newspaper today and the letter to the editor by Ms. Z……I don’t fear the Dreamer “kids” if they are allowed to stay on in this country, at all. No more do I fear them, than anyone else walking around and in our city, or this area, or our state. Although, I don’t believe it will happen, that they will be allowed to stay on, under this president and his administration, because he hasn’t displayed very much “heart” toward anyone if they are immigrants, minority citizens of our nation, poor, or women. I fear his administration way more than those dreamer kids! He advocates for torture! He brags on people like the sheriff in Arizona, that treated people detained worse than dogs! I have read about how he treated those people in those detention tent camps, and some of those people had not committed crimes but were being held because of profiling…..Pregnant women who lost their babies in there, because of how they were treated. People with serious health problems, suffering and in pain and denied to see a doctor, and that died on the floors….concentration camps really! Giving them old moldy spoiled food. Extreme heat and cold conditions, bug infested quarters, and refusal to exterminate for bugs…our president has divided our country, is racist, and threatens our democracy! He is well on his way to destroying America, as we have known it. I fear him, and his kind, not the dreamers. This president and his kind, is one of the worse things that has ever happened to our country. He got elected against the odds, whether the collusion helped him or not, and he has an opportunity to help this country, but instead he is “helping his own wallet” with tax cuts that benefit the wealthy like himself. That is who should reek of shame!!! Not those who feel compassion for kids caught up in politics, and that can be deported back to a country, they don’t even know, that is famous for headlines of murders, dumped bodies, and the killings of females especially, and human trafficking.

  2. Also read about the Wekiva High School graduate who is traveling around the world on a cruise ship turned into a college….that is so cool, I didn’t know such colleges existed at sea! That is really so different. Congratulations to the young lady!

  3. John Perry’s photos of the birds and wildlife are really good photography that are in today’s Apopka Chief Newspaper. I like the snowy egret photo on the front cover especially.

  4. I had a nice day yesterday as we went to the Citrus Bowl Parade in Orlando. We got there too late last year, after I had an appointment, and could not find a parking space with all the roads barricaded everywhere, and I had never seen so many Lynx buses in my life, in one area. This year was different, as I did not see even one Lynx bus downtown Orlando, and I still cannot believe it! We saw buses and buses but they were big tour buses mostly from out of state that brought in the marching bands to the parade. All of the musical equipment was stored underneath as they had the doors opened, and I could see trombones, tubas, drums, etc. The buses were parked on the north side of the road along Lake Eola, and we walked to the area in front of the band shell at Lake Eola along the street near bleachers set up to the right.

  5. I couldn’t get over that Orlando Mayor Dyer, County Mayor Theresa Jacobs, the Orlando commissioners, the Orange County Commissioners, and the Orange County Property Appraiser, and all of them WERE NOT IN THE PARADE riding and waving from cars! Now if this was the Apopka parade…….LOL!

  6. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings was in the parade however, riding up top the roof, in a black Tahoe vehicle, along with the Sheriff’s horse units, and the very hefty mature sheriff deputies on their big motorcycles. Back a way was the sheriff’s wife, Congresswoman, Val Demings. I saw the car with her banner on the side, and I looked inside and thought, where is she? That is not her driving. Then I saw someone in the back and thought you can’t even see her back there…..then I spotted her, as she was on foot walking behind the car with her banner…! She looked very nice, had on a beautiful tailored wool looking coat that was red and long. She always looks nice, and is a very attractive woman.

  7. There were lots of marching bands. Some from way off. Lakeville, Minn….Penn…..Waukee, Iowa…..Georgia….and many more. LSU marching band, and the most gorgeous girls ever along with them. Then the huge big band of the fighting Irish, Notre Dame. Both of them had big huge bands. Disney characters present, and Universal too. Lots of characters riding in cars. They had the citrus fruit floats also in the parade, I got photos on my cell phone. Not as many citrus floats as in the past, I guess because of the hurricane destroying so much citrus fruit, but they still managed to decorate the big floats, and that takes a lot of fruit! Grapefruits and oranges…..Florida Hospital for Children had a very big especially nice one that featured a big teddy bear on it all done up in fruit. They threw out white sunglass with orange arms to the crowds and the kids scooped up everything, the big beads, the candy, and everything else, like cheerleader pom poms in gold metallic.

  8. The pity party was there. That was the large group that advocates for adopting and spaying pit bulls. There was a big group walking their pit bulls in pajamas. They stopped and kissed and licked the children along the parade route. They walked over and looked at my little boy dog in his stroller, and I grabbed him up, didn’t want them to eat him!

  9. I looked for something to eat there at the parade and couldn’t find nothing I wanted. All that was around me was Kona shaved ice, not what I wanted in the cold out there, sugary hot chocolate, and kettle corn with sugar, and potato chips, and soft drinks. Oh, and mimosas with alcohol that two ladies ran across the road and got before the parade started right across from us, and brought back to the park to drink. I almost didn’t go to the parade, not because of the cold, but because I felt crappy and was having nausea, caused by my meds, and had thrown up the night before, so I didn’t feel like eating before I left, actually didn’t feel like going, but I wanted to go to the parade, then I was really beginning to get hungry, and couldn’t find anything there, where I was, that wasn’t sugary. Diabetes is challenging…..I am really planning on making a choice to do a better diet for my diabetes for the new year. More than knocking myself out exercising so much. Gonna go the other route, a better more healthy diet, and try my best to stay away from sugar, and high fats.

  10. I looked up and saw the Clydesdale horses coming and quickly got my phone out, and I had it cut off. I turned in on, and by the time I got it on, the horses had already passed on by, and I did not get their photo. Darn. They were beautiful, those huge draft horses with their big hoofs, and they were pulling the wagon of beer barrels. I love those beauties! We stopped in out at Old Town, Kissimmee once, when I read the Budweiser Clydesdales were going to be there. We walked all around out there that night and then I heard an announcement that they were there, and we must have been on the other side or something, we walked all around there, and missed them. I could not understand how in the heck we could miss something as big as that team of big horses, but we did. We got to the other side, and I said that they have already been here, as I got a whiff of their horse manure, and I said we have missed them! LOL

  11. The Citrus Bowl Parade is always held on or near my birthday. Just like the Royal Lipizzan Stallion Horses performances used to come to the arena in Orlando and the Ocean Center in Daytona every year on or around the time of my birthday, and I would want to go, and still planned on going, and then they moved elsewhere and did come perform in this area anymore. I was disappointed, because I did plan to go. Didn’t know they were going away.

  12. Some of the horses in the parade had leis of big oranges and greenery around their necks, along with ankle boots, and knee high socks, and they had spirally ribbon curls down their tails. There was a team of young kids that were on some very tall unicycles, very tall, and they balanced themselves, and were in the parade from way off up north somewhere. Universal Studios had some stilt walkers all in the parade, and the unicyclists were right up there with them up in the air! I don’t know how they can ride those unicycles or how they get on them or off.

  13. They didn’t age discriminate. The oldsters from the Villages were there, the very mature lady Twirlers, and the Segway rider club from the Villages also. The Shriners minus the live camel, the Keystone Cops, the clowns, and some old stock cars that looked like junk that backfired really loud, and cleared the kids back that had gotten too far out into the road, after candies and treats. Thank you for the backfire!….LOL…..their were some old men walking along the parade crowds and high fiving and slapping the hands of the young kids, and wishing them a Happy New Year. The two little boys about 7 or 8 next to us, thought that it was funny and then after the first old man gave them a slap high five they laughed and decided that they would hit them as hard as they could, and just laughed! Boys will be boys…….

  14. I had on a knit pair of pants, with a pair of jean pants over them, two shirts, and a knit vest and coat, gloves, thick socks and fur lined boots. I could tell the northern visitors in the crowds, as they were wearing cargo shorts, and t-shirts or t-shirts with very light windbreakers, with nice very lilly white legs. The girls from the marching band of somewhere in Penn. had some girls in the front of the band, dancing around in sheer white ballet type dresses, and honestly those bodies must of never seen the sunlight, as their skin was as white as snow, or as white as their dresses, and their cheeks had started to turn pink from the wind. I didn’t have to see the Penn. banner, to know they were not from Calif. , Arizona, or Florida, the sunshine states…..although there was a band there from Arizona marching too.

  15. There was a extremely long 5th wheel rv pulled by a big diesel Ram 3500 truck in the parade. That was one fine looking 5th wheel rv….I would be fearful to see the price tag, but it was totally upscale. I’ll buy that package, when the new year comes and I win the big powerball…..ha ha.

  16. I want to wish everyone a very Happy New Year for 2018! Goodbye 2017 forever and ever. The fireworks have already started in our neighborhood, as we heard them last night. They will be going all night long tonight for sure! Don’t drink and drive, and once again, remember what I have warned you about, over and over…..just don’t chance it. Listen to yo’ Mama!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here