The Black Business Alliance (BBA) has received a $100,000 federal grant to help their Black Business Funding Superhighway program supporting Black businesses.
NBC Connecticut reports the funding will be used for financial literacy training, loan application support, and networking opportunities. The BBA is a nonprofit organization working to help local and statewide minority businesses by addressing the gaps in access to funding and providing educational resources.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who was on hand for a ceremony in Milford announcing the federal grant, said the money will be used to help Black businesses at their most critical phase.
“Launching is the most critical phase. Beginning a small business is kind of like giving birth to a child or launching an airplane off the runway, you need to have that critical lift right at the start, care right at the beginning and the Black Business Alliance provides it,” Blumenthal told reporters.
“This grant will help multiply and expand the aid it gives to small businesses needing that critical launch.”
Anne-Marie Knight, executive director for the BBA, outlined how important the grant is for Black businesses.
“We talk about the 40% of Black-owned businesses that were closed almost immediately during COVID. We talk about the fact that out of the 12.8% population of Black people only 2.4% are actually business owners, but this isn’t about the numbers this is about real people,” said King.
“Real lives. Real families who are impacted every day and need these services.”
Thousands of Black businesses struggled during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Black businesses that managed to stay open struggled to stay afloat as funding from the Paycheck Protection Program didn’t make it to them.
However, the number of Black businesses increased by more than 30% during the pandemic, as Black men and women used the pandemic to take control of their finances and start their own businesses in everything from ice cream to haircare.
In addition to the BBA, Black celebrities including Serena Williams and Beyoncé, are helping Black men and women by investing in their businesses and providing seed funding, access to capital, and more.