With more than 11 years of experience in financial management, EGF Vice President Paola Garcia works hard to provide small business owners with one-one-one technical assistance and support throughout the loan process. With technical skills that include underwriting, loan packaging, business plan reviews and cash flow analysis, Paola is an expert at helping business owners access the funding and resources they need to reach their business goals. Get to know Paola and her work at EGF.
1. What is your role at EGF?
I serve as a Vice President for New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) and its affiliate Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF). My job combines the roles of a business development officer, loan officer and business advisor. My main role is to provide financing to small businesses and to support these businesses throughout the application and funding process. In this role, I also develop and coordinate intensive and tailored business advisory services for clients pre- and post-loan closings.
As a business development officer, I also manage community lending relations with banks, non-bank lending institutions, and technical assistance providers. I educate these organizations on the existing loan programs and business advising opportunities that EGF has to offer.
2. What EGF programs and initiatives do you manage?
I manage the NYC Contract Financing Loan Fund, a program focused on creating and expanding opportunities for Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) businesses, who are either prime or subcontractors on City-funded projects or services.
I also guide our clients through our signature loan program, the EGF Smart LoanTM, which allows business owners to receive up to $100,000 in affordable funding in five business days.
Additionally, I supported the development of our SBA microloan program, where I work with borrowers, many of whom are minorities, women and immigrants, to resolve credit issues, prepare financial statements and increase their overall management capacity so they can access the capital they need.
3. What is your favorite part about working at EGF?
I feel like EGF is my second home. I’m constantly learning from my colleagues who encourage me to grow both personally and professionally. I’ve met some of my closest friends here and cherish that we share our struggles and successes together. We’re a matrixed team who share responsibilities, offer support, and co-lead projects together. I’ve never felt alone in any of the things I do here. I couldn’t ask for more!
4. What is your favorite thing about working with small businesses?
I really enjoy the human connection. I have learned so much from working face-to-face with our clients. They have provided me with as many learning lessons as I have shared with them.
We work with primarily disadvantaged and underserved communities. Our clients come to us with a real need for fast and affordable funding. Often times, our borrowers don’t qualify for loans through traditional financing and resort to predatory lending institutions to receive fast financing. Unfortunately, these institutions often impose high daily repayment schedules and interest rates, which frequently lead to the financial collapse of the business and its owners. I find it deeply rewarding that we can give them a safe and effective alternative to those lenders and are quickly able to help them save their businesses.
5. What is a fun fact about you?
Latin music and dancing have been an intrinsic part of my life since I was very young. My favorite memories from growing up in Colombia are the parties that my family would throw and holidays that we celebrated together. My parents were excellent dancers and I would watch and practice as I grew up. I’ve never lost that feeling I have for the music and the movements!