By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer
As locals attempt to many entrepreneurs are still feeling the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic-related impacts on their businesses and as they attempt to return to business as usual, some of the hardest hit are being encouraged to apply for monies being given out to help them bounce back.
A Sacramento County Microbusiness Grant Program is offering $2,500 in one-time funding for microbusinesses impacted by COVID-19. The application process opens on April 1. The grants are being offered by the County of Sacramento and the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA). CalOSBA defines a microbusiness as one that typically has less than $50,000 in gross revenue with fewer than five full-time employees.
As African American business owners are often left out of the loop, the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce is among the local support agencies urging people of color to apply.
The Chamber’s Community Resource Liaison, Eric Whiteside says many of its members meet the qualifications and are still working toward economic recovery.
“It’s vital that the County is offering this program to help keep businesses going as they plan for the long-term and figure out their new normal,” Whiteside said. “The County has worked closely with us to encourage applications from businesses owned by women, minorities, and veterans, for example, because the intent of the funding is to provide relief to these groups, who face the most systemic barriers to accessing capital and are often the last to receive it.”
There are many small business owners who are not tapped into the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce and resources the veteran organization is privy to.
These one-time grants will be awarded to 669 businesses and will not have to be paid back, as with loans.
“They are an interest free and risk-free way for a small business to be able to invest in needed technology, pay staff, or, frankly, to cover work transportation costs in our increasingly expensive oil economy,” Whitesaid shared.
Applicants must be able to show that they lost at least 10% in revenue from 2019 to 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Business owners who were given funds through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), or other pandemic-related grant or loan programs can apply for the new grants. Those who received funds from the California Relief Grant Program, however, are not eligible.
The application will be available online at https://sac4micro.org. For more information, call (833) 391-1919 or contact the Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce at (916) 231-0416.