A new grant program will offer funding for COVID-19 relief to Black and Latino-owned small businesses in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. The Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) grant fund will provide businesses with up to $25,000 and is focused on improving business success, job retention, and job creation for Black and Latino-owned businesses. $1.2 million has been pledged to the fund with the goal of ongoing fundraising and grant allocation for a period of 5 years.
The program is designed to offer an equitable resource for Black and Latino-owned businesses that may be more susceptible to the economic impact of COVID-19 and face more barriers to obtaining other sources of grants, loans, and relief funding. According to the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, over 40% of Black-owned businesses have closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2 out of 3 Latino business owners believe they will be out of business if current trends continue.
The MBE grant program will be managed by the Entrepreneurial Advisory Board, consisting of Black and Latino business leaders in Forsyth County. This board will review applications, provide technical assistance, and determine grant recipients.
Advisory Board Chairwoman Jasmine Stover says “it’s exciting and rewarding to be working with a board representing multi-generational leadership and to have the financial support and commitment of companies and individuals coming together to make a positive difference for Black and Latino-owned businesses in our community.”
Businesses must be located in Forsyth County and in operation as of January 1st, 2020 to qualify. Businesses with 1-25 full-time employees and under $1 million in gross annual sales are eligible, to ensure effective impact to small and local businesses.
Greater Winston-Salem, Inc will provide the grant program with financial oversight and organizational structure. President and CEO Mark Owens says “the committee’s efforts to lead this incredible community effort are outstanding. I am honored to support their mission of bringing an equitable funding opportunity to local minority businesses impacted by COVID-19.”
Current donors include Allegacy Federal Credit Union, The Budd Group, Alan and Lisa Caldwell, Cook Medical, Flow Automotive, Flow Lexus, Front Street Capital, Drew and Kelley Hancock, Javara, Modern Automotive, L. David Mounts, David Neill, Novant Health, the Prim Family Foundation, Reynolds American, Ben C. Sutton, Jr., the Truist Charitable Fund, Claire and Randall Tuttle, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Wake Forest University, Wells Fargo (Business) and the Wells Fargo Foundation, John Whitaker, and the Whitaker Park Development Authority.
Applications open Thursday, October 1. Forms and instructions are available in English and Spanish.