GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A Grand Rapids nonprofit will administer $25,000 in grants to Black-owned businesses that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses' Relief and Resilience Fund will offer immediate assistance to local businesses in need of financial relief. The grants, which are backed by funding from Comcast Corp., will provide relief for up to 15 different businesses.
“Many of the COVID19 impacted businesses in Grand Rapids are small family operations that haven’t been successful accessing traditional sources of capital,” said Jamiel Robinson, founder of Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses (GRABB).
Black-owned businesses have been hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic. A report done by an economist with the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 41% of Black-owned businesses shuttered during the early stages of the pandemic. And federal relief dollars were inaccessible to many small businesses owned by people of color, according to ABC News.
"The funding from Comcast for direct support of our Relief and Resilience Fund is timely. Along with our other program offerings, this support will help Black businesses stay afloat and survive these difficult times while providing some breathing room to refocus and forge forward through this uncertainty," Robinson said.
GRABB, which is an economic and business development organization working to empower Black entrepreneurs, will be accepting applications through Nov. 22. Grants of up to $2,500 are available.
“Black-owned businesses have always played a vital role in Grand Rapids’ growth and future. During this pandemic, these entrepreneurs provide many of the services and resources that keep the community up and running,” said Jeff Snyder, manager of Government Affairs for Comcast in West Michigan.
Recipients will be notified by Nov. 30.
GRABB is also partnering with Flagstar Bank to provide $5,000 grants to businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color.
Businesses eligible to apply:
- Black-owned (51% owned), Black-controlled and Black-led
- In business before Jan. 1, 2020
- Business is registered in the state of Michigan
- Business has a registered address within Greater Grand Rapids Area
- Business has fewer than 10 FTE employees
- Business has revenues of $1,000,000 or less
- Demonstration of need
- Can verify the business has a loyal customer base.
Businesses not eligible to apply:
- Businesses that are franchises and chains are not eligible to apply
- Only socially acceptable businesses – no liquor stores, cannabis, etc. (per SBA guidelines)
- Independent contractors operating multilevel or network marketing businesses (such as Avon, Mary Kay, 5LINX, -Pampered Chef, etc.) are not eligible to apply
- Independent contractors working on gig platforms (such as Airbnb, Fiverr, Uber, Lyft, Instacart, etc.) are not eligible to apply
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