Here are the top COVID19-related resources available to black-owned businesses right now
By Camille Randolph
MBE Capital Partners / Magic Johnson
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, majority owner of EquiTrust, the nation’s largest minority-owned insurance company, announced a $100 million partnership with MBE Capital Partners (MBECP), the largest certified minority-owned asset-based lender, and the National Action Network (NAN). Together, they are focused on distributing PPP loans geared specifically for minority and women-owned businesses in underserved communities.
Johnson’s EquiTrust is providing critical financial support to underserved communities and businesses that have been traditionally neglected. These small and diverse businesses often have difficulty developing strong lending relationships with big banks. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, up to 90% of businesses owned by people of color have been, or will likely be, shut out of the PPP program.
Due to the initial round of the federal government’sPaycheck Protection Program(“PPP) dollars being disproportionately given to those with the right connection rather than the businesses with the greatest need, Our Fair Share was created. This initiative will help minority-owned companies learn about the PPP and help get them connected to approved Small Business Administration (SBA) lenders that can process applications for these potentially business-saving loans.
Thanks to a $1 million grant from Sam’s Club, LISC will provide the emergency assistance that small businesses desperately need to stay afloat. We will deploy grants to help them bridge the financial gap, and deliver technical assistance to help them navigate the intricate web of public and private resources now available. LISC will focus these efforts on historically underserved communities—especially those enterprises owned or led by women, minorities and veterans, which often lack access to affordable capital.
Grants of up to $10,000 eachto small business owners to help meet their most immediate needs. Eligible expenses include: Paying rent and utilities, meeting payroll, paying outstanding debt to vendors, upgrading technology infrastructure, and other immediate operational costs
Tory Burch is a fashion label in the United States founded by female business owners. This foundation has been helpful to women in a multitude of ways. It offers resource libraries, virtual information sessions, and many tips and tricks to decipher different government relief programs. This foundation also helps female entrepreneurs with finding funding through CommunityDevelopmental Financial Institutions. These institutions are local lenders that offer Women entrepreneurs affordable loans. As an added bonus they offer personal tips for self-care and various work-at-home techniques to be more efficient. To qualify the business needs to be sustainable, have a satisfactory credit rating, it must be at least two years in business and generating revenue, and it must have a passion for growth.
This relief fund, known as IFW COVID-19 provides female-owned businesses small grants during this crisis, otherwise known as microgrants. IFundWomenalways places women at the forefront and their number one goal is to support these women before, during, and after the Pandemic. IFundWomen allows donors to make their contributions directly making the giving process easy and straightforward. Additionally, they are cultivating the sense of community by allowing Women-led businesses to apply for grants and their community to rally around them by donating to their campaigns. Therefore, qualifying is as easy as starting a campaign. As if that wasn’t extraordinarily helpful already, IFundWomen also offers words of encouragement daily on their slack channel as well as wonderful workshops free of charge.
Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx Inc. as well as the co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks. She is incredibly inspiring and says, “Human beings can be quarantined, but the human spirit can not be contained”. She is donating five million dollars to female entrepreneurs that are needing assistance during this pandemic. The goal is that 1,000 different small businesses that are female-owned will receive $5,000 each in order to offset the economic disruption they have faced and pay their employees. To qualify businesses must be majority women-owned, annual revenues need to be less than five million, there must be at least one additional employee but fewer than fifty, businesses must be in good standing, and be identified as a legal entity. Most importantly, the business needs to provide evidence that COVID-19 is causing financial depravity. Sole proprietors are ineligible for applying. Applications are currently closed, but you can be notified when the next round opens up as they are being taken monthly basis.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America is awarding anyone in the fashion industry that has been in business for two years or more to $100,000 through their Common Thread Initiative. The major goal of this initiative led by Vogue is to raise funds but also to raise awareness regarding trials and tribulations many in the fashion industry have faced due to this pandemic. This initiative also spotlights different designers and tells their stories of tragedy and triumph.
Texas Woman’s University AssistHer Emergency Relief Grant
This grant is in place to assist businesses sustainability during the financial adversity brought about by COVID-19. These funds are only to be used for technology upgrades, adaptations made by businesses, or operating expenses (excluding: sales tax, payroll, purchase of food, penalties and fees, and charitable donations). To qualify for this fund businesses must be majority women-owned, must be for-profit, the business must be suffering economic oppression due directly to COVID-19, all property taxes and other taxes must be current, businesses must be located/operated in Texas, the business and business owner may not be involved in any litigation, all required permits and licenses are conforming with required laws, the business owner must not have any felonies or convictions of crimes of dishonesty or breach of trust.
The Visa Foundation has combined two funding programs to total $210 million. These funds have been created to aid small businesses along with aligningVisa's views of inclusivity and women’s economic advancement. The first program totaling $10 million is directed towards emergency relief for organizations on the frontline like public health and food relief. Visa’s CEO Al Kelly realizes the direct impact that COVID-19 has had on the community and economy. The second program is a more strategic long-term plan. This plan is a $200 commitment to support small businesses and continually focus on the advancement of women economically. Small businesses comprise more than 90% of worldwide businesses making it essential to provide this vital support.
Hello Alice is a digital platform that helps businesses that are run by a diverse group of individuals. It embraces people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and so much more promoting inclusivity. Hello Alice thrives by matching businesses with various opportunities online and locally. They are offering $10,000 emergency grants with the help of several other partners to small businesses. The money is available immediately to small businesses, and as of now, seventy emergency grants have been awarded. In order to qualify the small business needs to have fewer than fifty employees. Hello Alice is also offering non-monetary help as well in the form of mental health support.
Verizon a well-established phone carrier is offering grants through the local Initiatives Support Corporation up to $10,000. These grants are available to businesses that are facing imminent financial hardship focusing on women-owned businesses, entrepreneurs of color, as well as enterprises in communities that have been rundown, underserved, and under-appreciated that can't obtain necessary finances. The goal of this initiative is to fill the financial void so that businesses can operate at normal capacity.
SheaMoisture is offering businesses that are women-led and minority-owned the chance to receive funding from their one million dollar relief fund. Funds will be awarding businesses that are generating innovative solutions to lend a hand and support the community as a whole and their consumers. The Community Commerce fund is put in place to support is to aide the businesses that have been directly impacted by the coronavirus. It is one of their many community-building platforms that enhance community camaraderie and small business empowerment. Along with this fund, SheaMoistureis donating a portion of their proceeds towards the community commerce program. These funds will be allocated for education, funding, and coaching small business owners of color.
Digital Undivided prides itself on inclusive innovation and was founded in 2012. It is a social startup that curates economic growth in Latinx and Black women communities. This fund makes small investments in black women entrepreneurs and has already invested in over 211entrepreneurs since it was established.
Pyer Moss, a men’s and women’s fashion label has turned the New York City office into a donation center for latex gloves and N95 masks. Alongside this charitable act, a relief fund has been established for women and minority businesses that have been directly and negatively affected by COVID-19. This relief fund awards grants in varying amounts to many business owners in need.
Facebook is a popular social media and technology company that was established in 2004. Facebook has created a relief fund to aid businesses experiencing financial adversity due to COVID-19. Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits during this unprecedented time. To qualify for funding businesses must be a for-profit company, have between 2-50 employees, have been in business for over a year, have experienced challenges financially due to the virus, and be near or in a location that Facebook operates.