Minority Firms in Massachusetts Could Benefit From $75 Million in Grants
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Minority Firms in Massachusetts Could Benefit From $75 Million in Grants

(Image: iStock/gorodenkoff)

There is promising news for small businesses, including firms owned by minorities and women in Massachusetts, courtesy of a new $75 million grant launched by the Baker-Polito administration.

The fresh small business relief program was announced by the office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito to back small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Plans call for $50 million to go to businesses reaching underserved markets and historically underrepresented groups. These include minorities, women, veteran-owned businesses, or individuals with disabilities and those who identify as an LGBTQ+ community member. The remaining $25 million will go to firms that did not qualify for prior aid in 2020 from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC).

The $75 million will be centered on small businesses with two to 50 employees. Under both tiers, grants will range from $10,000 to $75,000. The funding can be used to help pay operating expenses, including employee and benefit costs, mortgage interest, interest on debt, rent and utilities. Applicants must also show that business revenues for 2020 were between $40,000 and $2.5 million.

The new effort is part of the plan to spend $4 billion in American Rescue Plan funding that was signed into law by Baker in December 2021. Those interested can gain more information and apply for grants here. The application process is open until April 4.

“We have been proud to support small businesses in every corner of the Commonwealth through the MGCC small business program during the pandemic, but we know that some challenges remain for many businesses,” Baker said.

“With the launch of this new effort, we can build on MGCC’s successful work and direct important federal funding to those businesses with the greatest need quickly and effectively.”

The funding could be a lifeline for some enterprises. Two years after the onset of COVID-19, many small businesses still face challenges such as capital access, finding qualified employees to hire, supply-chain issues, turnover, and retention to name a few.

Another possible threat is rising gasoline prices for a broad mix of small businesses. The challenge is if prices are not constrained soon, entrepreneurs may be forced to pass the higher cost onto customers. That could ultimately reduce their sales and profitability.

 

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