Innovative Recordings, LLC raised funds using SMBX.
Innovative Recordings, LLC raised funds using SMBX.

For centuries, Black-owned businesses have been denied access to funds that white-owned businesses receive. Black-owned businesses are 20% less likely to get a loan from a large bank than their white-owned counterparts, as data from the Federal Reserve’s Small Business Credit Survey consistently shows. And that divide only grew deeper through the pandemic. But in the face of these challenges, Black business owners and community investors are finding a new and revolutionary way to fight back: community financing.

Thanks to a new partnership between the D.C. Mayor’s Office and investment platform SMBX, D.C. residents are taking power back into their own hands. D.C. residents can now invest in local, Black-owned businesses directly, while earning up to 10% interest on their investments by purchasing their Small Business Bonds™.* So for example, if you invest $1,000 at an interest rate of 10% for a 5-year bond, you would earn $245.50 in interest. Best of all, your money would go toward helping a real business make the purchases and hires that they need to succeed.

What sets SMBX apart is their dedication to keeping wealth in the community. Unlike banks or lenders who act as “middlemen,” charging high fees and interest rates, SMBX lets everyday people become the investors. Instead of paying money back to a nameless corporation, businesses are paying back their friends, family and community members. Investing on SMBX helps build a stronger local economy, and gives people the opportunity to support Black-owned and local businesses directly. The program goes beyond shopping local, allowing people to put their hard-earned money back into their communities and growing their investment portfolios.

If you’re a business owner in Washington, D.C., looking to raise money on SMBX, you’ll pay $0 in origination fees, thanks to contributions from the D.C. government. “This is why we partnered with SMBX to harness the support of D.C. residents of small businesses throughout the pandemic to benefit the District’s entrepreneurs over the long term,” said John Falcicchio, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. “It is so important for small businesses to have access to funding, specifically entrepreneurs of color, and SMBX provides a viable option to convert customers to investors.”

Ben Lozano, CEO, SMBX (Nikki Ritcher/Nikki Ritcher Photography)

Black-owned businesses have already raised over $1,000,000 on SMBX, including beloved D.C. businesses like Trini Vybez food truck and Innovative Recordings, LLC. “There are investors around the country participating in the bond program,” said Charles Garris of Innovative Recordings, LLC. “It’s exciting that our story is compelling enough that it reached investors who wanted to support us. This is a great opportunity. By working with SMBX and our investors, this funding has already assisted in increasing our overall operations. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for our continued business and workforce development.”

SMBX welcomes all small businesses, but their team puts emphasis on inclusion and equity for minority-owned, Black-owned, woman-owned and LGBTQIA+ owned businesses. They describe their mission as building the future of finance, a future where every entrepreneur and individual has the same opportunity to grow their wealth and empower their communities. By turning the D.C. community into active investors in their favorite businesses, we’re creating a financial system that benefits everyone and helps keep the cycle of wealth and prosperity in the District.

To learn more about becoming an investor on SMBX, visit
To learn more about raising money for your business on SMBX, visit
To learn more about SMBX’s partnership with the city of Washington DC, visit

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