Magic Johnson’s company giving $100 million to help minority-owned small businesses
Magic Johnson told The Wall Street Journal his life insurance company — EquiTrust Life Insurance Co. — is giving out $100 million to assist women- and minority-owned businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The premise is the money will be used in an effort to help businesses obtain loans as part of the Payment Protection Program.
EquiTrust organized a partnership with MBE Capital Partners to create additional funding for at-risk businesses.
MBE’s chief executive, Rafael Martinez, had received complaints from clients who couldn’t get loans from the PPP’s first round of funding; reports later revealed that some lenders prioritized businesses with whom they had existing relationships.
Martinez told the WSJ that Johnson’s $100 million commitment will first be used for the 5,000 PPP loans his company has approved so far.
“This is, when you think about it, life and death for so many business owners. They have nowhere else to turn,” Johnson told the WSJ.
It is imperative for Magic Johnson to use his influence and capital to assist those in need.
This is especially true considering business owners have to compete with mammoth corporations and franchises — including the Los Angeles Lakers — to acquire PPP loans, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage.
Johnson has also been vocal about racial disparities in testing for COVID-19, saying he benefited from early detection when it was first discovered he contracted HIV.
First, Johnson offered some context: “When I think about this virus, it is completely different.”
Nonetheless, Johnson still drew parallels between HIV and COVID-19 because of the similarities regarding the misconceptions about the respective viruses, the inadequate testing, the lack of available drugs and how the pandemic has hurt the black community.
Johnson feels his experience with HIV and the lack of education and awareness regarding the disease gives him perspective on the pandemic.
As such, Magic Johnson is doing what he can to help those currently under siege.