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Grants Of Up To $50,000 Available For Black-Owned And Small Businesses Affected By Mass Shooting In East Buffalo

Black businesses are among those that can seek grants in East Buffalo, New York, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

Black-owned small businesses in East Buffalo, New York, affected by a mass shooting nearly two years ago, are eligible to apply for grants of up to $50,000.

The Empire State Development (ESD) has announced that applications for Round 3 of the East Buffalo Small Business Working Capital Grant Program are available now through May 10.

According to a news release, the $3 million program funded by ESD is offering grants from $5,000 to $50,000 to eligible small businesses in East Buffalo. It will be used to mainly to help minority-owned firms overcome the social, economic impact of the shooting at a Tops Friendly Market along Jefferson Avenue.

The supermarket, located in a mostly Black neighborhood, reopened in June 2022 after 10 people were killed there by a white supremacist the previous month.

The backing is needed as gaining access to capital for Black entrepreneurs is an ongoing obstacle. For instance, support for Black-founded startups dropped in 2023 to under $1 billion to $705 million, per this report. That was the first such decline since 2016.

The latest effort is linked to recovery efforts statewide after the store  attack. Almost 70 businesses reportedly gained over $800,000 in grants from the East Buffalo Small Business Working Capital Grant Program in two previous funding rounds.

For the current funding round, those seeking grants must be in a designated area in East Buffalo and  meet other criteria. According to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation-New York (LISC NY), administrating the program for ESD, applicants can apply for just one business and must be aged 18 to do so.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight offered this statement. “I encourage business owners to take advantage of an expanded eligibility map and added technical assistance to apply for the East Buffalo Small Business Working Capital Grant Program. Through this program and others, New York State affirms its strong partnership with these predominantly minority-owned enterprises as they continue to serve the community.”

Valerie White, senior executive director at LISC NY, stated, “The East Buffalo community was shaken to its core following the devastating mass shooting at Tops, and we’re proud to work with our partners at Empire State Development to help connect neighboring small businesses with resources to help them recover from the impacts.

She added, “This targeted support, which is now expanding to a wider geographic footprint, will help ensure these primarily minority-owned businesses are able continue to support their community as we work hard to grow our investments in this historically underserved area and, ultimately, close the racial wealth gap.”

So far, over 200 business have applied for funding, according to ESD. Check out more details here.

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