“When we reach out to help those who need help, we are indeed doing for those who need our help,” McClain said.
The organizers say the grant program has an application deadline of Oct. 31, with applications made through Greater Winston-Salem at winstonsalem.com/mbegrants.
To be eligible, a business must have Black or Hispanic owners and have a maximum of $1 million in annual gross sales. Businesses have to have been started on or before Jan. 1, 2020, and can range from having one to 25 employees.
The grants can be used for salaries, wages, lease payments, working capital or capital improvements.
Organizers said the fund plans to keep growing and will operate over a five-year period.
Organizers also said the need for the program is bolstered by research showing that 40% of Black-owned businesses have closed nationwide since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that two out of three Hispanic business owners believe they will go out of business if current trends continue.
The advisory board is chaired by Jasmine Stover, the chief executive at Thirsty Inc., a nonprofit organization. Other members are Anthony Abney, a business launch specialist at Winston-Salem State University’s Small Business and Technology Development Center, Alan Caldwell, retired from Reynolds American as director of community and civic engagement, Brenda Diggs, retired from Wachovia Bank as senior vice president, Dwight Lewis, the associate athletic director at Wake Forest University, Reginald McCaskill, the executive director at Maximum Enterprises Inc., McClain, who is executive director at The Guiding Institute for Developmental Education Inc., Hasani Mitchell, the community manager for ACCESS Center for Equity and Success, Karla Mounts, the founder of Soy Emprendedor, Lorena Munez Holladay, a real estate investor and financial coach, Randon Pender, the president of the Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce, and Allan Younger, the director of the Forsyth Tech Small Business Center.
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