According to a press release, owners of businesses that are socially and economically disadvantaged, in addition to women and veteran-owned ones, will be given priority. Community Navigator Pilot Program applications will be accepted from the SBA until July 12, 2021. A decision about the competitive grant awards which will range from $1 million to $5 million may be made by August 2021. A two-year performance period will also be required.
You can help play a role in connecting underserved small businesses with financial relief, counseling, training, and other critical resources by applying for our Community Navigator Pilot Program.
Learn more and apply:
— SBA (@SBAgov) June 18, 2021
InnovatorsLINK added that community organizations, community financial institutions, nonprofits, local governments, Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE chapters may apply for the new opportunity.
Selected community navigators may use the funding to employ staff, conduct outreach, and utilize technical assistance for the purpose of improving access to COVID-19 relief programs. Free services will be provided to business owners, according to InnovatorsLINK’s report.
“The Community Navigator Pilot Program is a crucial addition to our SBA programs because it helps us to connect with small businesses that have historically been underserved or left behind. These businesses—the smallest of the small in rural and urban America, and those owned by women, people of color, or veterans— have suffered the greatest economic loss from this pandemic,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a press release. “We’ll be using a hub and spoke model in local regions across the nation to bridge the gap between local entrepreneurs and SBA’s resources and programs. If we’re going to build back better, we need to ensure that all entrepreneurs have the support they need to recover.”
It was also stated in the press release that in February of this year, Congress had meetings with constituents at local levels to discuss the pandemic’s impact and the effect it had on businesses, especially those that did not receive early relief.
Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona noted that he spoke with tribal and minority-owned small business owners in Arizona who were unable to get financial assistance. In response, he fought for the inclusion of the Community Navigator Program in the American Rescue Plan.
The Community Navigator Pilot Program page also mentioned that applicants should become familiar with Federal Grants.gov, SAM.gov, and Grant Solutions. For more details about the Community Navigators Initiative, please visit this link.