Non-profits launch grant program for small businesses

Non-profits launch grant program for small businesses

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Five Virginia-based groups are looking to help out businesses affected by the pandemic or riots in the city, through the “We Care RVA Rebuild Project.”

The project puts forth $1 million in total for 100 small business owners who apply.

“The idea that one day you have a business that’s completely open and operating, the next day it’s completely closed. Your insurance doesn’t cover that business loss. So many small businesses have really, really thin profit margins,” said Lisa Sims, CEO of Venture Richmond.

Sims’ group is one of five putting together the initiative; Venture is joined by Chamber RVA, Virginia LISC, Virginia Community Capital, and the Metropolitan Business League (MBL). The sponsors for the fund include Dominion Energy, Altria, Capital One, the Robins Foundation and the Community Foundation.

“This is a $1 million relief fund in support of small, women and minority-owned businesses financially impacted by COVID-19, as well as social justice demonstrations here in the Richmond region,” said Floyd E Miller II, CEO of the Metropolitan Business League.

According to Miller, the grants will range from $2,500 to $10,000 and the benefits don’t just stop with a little extra cash, as he says the MBL “will provide technical assistance, financial resources, and financial counseling to help these businesses recover and reopen.”

There are certain criteria to qualify:

  • Small, women and/or minority-owned businesses
  • Richmond region based for profit, non-profit or franchise (locally owned) business
  • In operation for 2 years or more
  • 2 to 100 employees
  • Suffered a negative economic impact from COVID-19 or social justice demonstrations
  • Must have a brick and mortar location
  • Must have at least $50,000 but no more than $2 million in annual gross revenues
  • Must be able to demonstrate at least a 25% loss in revenue that can be attributed to COVID-19 or the social justice demonstrations

“It’s important that we help small business to sort of weather this period of time because we feel confident that businesses are going to return, they’re going to come back,” Sims added.

The applications for the grants open on Sept. 21 and close on Oct. 5. More information on the program can be found here.

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