After 9/11, small businesses and entrepreneurs in lower Manhattan faced an extremely difficult work environment. Seedco Financial discovered that arts businesses and not-for-profit organizations were among the most imperiled. Self-employed artists, performance companies, galleries, and other arts groups needed assistance; these people and their work were essential to the rich fabric of life in their recovering neighborhoods.
In 2005, with support from American Express, Seedco Financial launched the ArtBusiness initiative, a financial and technical assistance program designed to serve the unique challenges facing small and medium-sized arts organizations. The program offers direct financing and business consulting services to for-profit and not-for-profit arts groups, providing financing for working capital and facilities expansion and connecting borrowers to a network for technical assistance.
The program has been so successful that we have begun expanding it to New Orleans, with plans to launch ArtBusiness in other cities as well.
Since 2005, ArtBusiness has provided training and technical assistance to more than 450 New York City arts businesses and not-for-profit groups, as well as $6.4 million in loans to more than 35 arts organizations and businesses.
For-profit arts organizations in emerging creative communities such as Chinatown, the Lower East Side, Long Island City, South Bronx, Jamaica, Bedford Stuyvesant, and Bushwick have access to loans from $50,000 to $250,000 to finance working capital, growth phase, build-out costs, and equipment purchase.
Small and medium not-for-profit arts organizations across New York City can borrow from $50,000 to $1.5 million for pre-development costs, construction, long-term working capital, growth-phase financing, build-out costs, seasonal cash flow, and financial turnaround and restructuring.
To be successful, the ArtBusiness initiative carefully screens organizations to ensure that they can make repayment. Thus far, Seedco Financial has experienced only one default.
Through one-on-one sessions, we conduct in-depth assessments of each arts organization’s needs, providing direct consulting services when needed. Consulting services may include assistance in marketing, site planning, resource development, operations, tax issues, and earned-income strategies as well as financial technical assistance relating to budgeting, financial management, real estate/site development, and debt financing.
ArtBusiness Helps Fund New Home for Chinese Culture Museum
Thanks to a key loan from Seedco Financial, the preeminent museum of Chinese American culture and history in the United States has built a new home in the heart of Chinatown.
The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) opened its new 13,200-square-foot facility, which cost about $8.1 million, in summer 2009. Seedco Financial loaned $2 million for the project—its largest ArtBusiness loan to date.
The new location allows MOCA to increase its space six-fold and better fulfill its mission to bring 160 years of Chinese-American history to vivid life through exhibitions and educational and cultural programs.
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