VEDC announced a $500,000 small business loan to Gunbae, an upscale Korean-BBQ karaoke restaurant opening today in Lower Manhattan, through the Tri-State Business Opportunity Fund (TBOF). This will result in the creation of 40 new full-time jobs, along with 12 construction jobs, in a community still recovering from economic and natural disasters, including Hurricane Sandy.

TBOF was created in partnership with UBS and VEDC, a national transitional small business lender and established Community Development Financial Institution. TBOF underscores UBS’s ongoing commitment to providing access to capital for small business owners through one of the firm’s flagship philanthropic initiatives, Elevating Entrepreneurs. TBOF is a $15 million alternative financing solution for qualified small business owners in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut seeking loans of $50,000 to $500,000. With the New York Metro area having the largest population of small businesses in the United States, TBOF meets an important need for this market, as such funding is not readily accessible.

TBOF is part of UBS’s Elevating Entrepreneurs initiative, a portfolio of partnerships and programs committed to bringing the right resources, to the right entrepreneurs, to help spur economic growth. Elevating Entrepreneurs is a joint undertaking of UBS Community Affairs & Corporate Responsibility, Americas and UBS Bank USA.

The 80-seat Gunbae (“cheers” in Korean), located at 67 Murray Street in New York, is the newest venture by former Wall Street investment banker Andy Lau who owns downtown eatery Bonchon, a Korean fried chicken chain on John Street in the Financial District of New York City. Lau has run the successful franchise restaurant with his sister and brother-in-law in the same neighborhood since 1999 and identified an opportunity to open a new restaurant concept. Lau approached two traditional financial institutions, but was unsuccessful in the search for financing given the venture’s early stage, start-up nature. It wasn’t until the New York City Lower Manhattan Business Solutions Center referred him to TBOF that he was able to source the funding needed for the restaurant build-out.

“VEDC and UBS were instrumental in securing our vision of Gunbae,” said Lau. “As a new restaurant member of the prestigious Tribeca community, we are pleased to have their support in the grand opening of Gunbae.”

“There is an overwhelming need for funding among small businesses in the New York Tri-State area and VEDC is here to provide alternative financing to help them recover or expand,” added Roberto Barragan, President and CEO of VEDC. “We are delighted to announce the funding of this business loan in the Tri-State area to Gunbae which will help complete tenant improvements and support growth and job creation in the area.”

Through a separate $5.5 million multi-year grant, UBS is VEDC’s lead funder in their national expansion efforts to help small business owners around the country succeed. Alongside the $15 million in the New York metro area, a total of $32 million in capital is now available for loans to small businesses in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Illinois, Nevada and Utah. To date, more than $15.5 million has been lent to 74 small businesses, which has resulted in the creation or retention of 1,553 jobs.

About VEDC

VEDC is a leading non-profit small business lender that is changing the way small business lending is done by making it more accessible and impactful. With a 38 year history of supporting small business owners, VEDC’s goal is to create and sustain jobs and small businesses in the communities they serve. In 2013 VEDC partnered with UBS to create the Tri-State Business Opportunity Fund (TBOF), a $15 million lending vehicle providing loans of $50,000 to $500,000 to qualified small businesses in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The effort is a component of UBS’s Elevating Entrepreneurs program, a flagship philanthropic initiative of the firm and a portfolio of nonprofit partnerships and philanthropic programs committed to bringing the right resources to the right entrepreneurs to help spur economic growth. VEDC’s national operations are headquartered in Los Angeles and include offices in California, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Utah, and New York serving the Tri-State area. For more information on VEDC programs visit

About UBS

UBS is committed to providing private, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as retail clients in Switzerland, with superior financial advice and solutions while generating attractive and sustainable returns for shareholders. Its strategy centers on its Wealth Management and Wealth Management Americas businesses and its leading universal bank in Switzerland, complemented by its Global Asset Management business and its Investment Bank. These businesses share three key characteristics: they benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets, are capital-efficient, and offer a superior structural growth and profitability outlook. UBS’s strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates. Capital strength is the foundation of its success.

Lisa Winkle
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