In partnership with M&T Bank and Entrepreneur Works, Southwest Strong Community Organization launched a $250,000 small business grant program for businesses in the city’s 19142, 19143 and 19153 ZIP codes. The awards ranged from $7,500 to $15,000 and Entrepreneur Works will provide grantees with four hours of technical training.
The grant came to be following the George Floyd protests and M&T Bank wanted to send a message to the community that they care and the small business grant is just the start. M&T Bank collaborated with Entrepreneur Works and Southwest Strong Community Organization. It was important that all three organizations work together- because who knows what is best for the community than the community itself. Southwest Strong is made up of 7-8 community members and Entrepreneur Works joined in to create the application process and technical assistance.
Business owners were able to complete the application online where they were asked about demographics, revenue, and finances. Once the application was complete business owners were scored by Southwest Strong Committee. The committee scored on whether the business was women owned, minority owned, what the business did to help the community, how long the business had been open for, and the use of funds.
100% of business owners that received the grant are minorities, 19 identify as African American and 1 identifies as Hispanic. The grant is also supporting women owned businesses as 13 of the recipients are women. There are a wide variety of industries included in the grant from hair care/cosmetology to food services.
Some of the small businesses awarded were; Glad Center, Southwest Fresh Hairstudio, and Parkside Impression Sign Shop. Glad Center is a Growth, Learning, and Development preschool located at 5714 Chester Avenue. Southwest Fresh Hairstudio is owned by Samuel Perry and located at 6301 Saybrook Avenue. Perry used the funds to remodel and expand his shop. James Youboty is the owner of Parkside Impression Shop located at 6223 Woodland Ave. Youboty has managed his sign and graphic store for 27 years and he used the grant to improve the interior of the store.
Full lists of grant recipients:
- B&S Soul Food & Catering
- Beyond Babysitting Early Education Center
- Chester Mini Market
- Chocolate City Hair Studio and Day Spa
- Cosset Beauty Lounge
- Famoijan & Son Tax Services
- Ferguson Faces of the Future
- Four Seasons Coffee and Donuts
- Glad Center
- Jam-Rock Restaurant
- Mane Creations by Alex Foxx
- Metro Financial Services Inc.
- Mindful Arts Dance Academy
- Nafisa’s Kitchen
- Parkside Impression Sign Shop
- Promise & Possibilities Learning Academy
- Sekpeh Prosperity
- Southwest Fresh Hairstudio
- White Seal Dry Cleaners and Laundromat