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Hundreds of grants offered to Black-owned businesses still struggling from impact of COVID-19 pandemic

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses plans to award more than $2 million in grants and resources to Black small business owners.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Providing an economic boost is the mission for The Coalition to Back Black Businesses as the group plans to award hundreds of grants to help those minority businesses still recovering from the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is now the second year the grant program has been offered. At the height of the pandemic, a report showed 41% of Black businesses had shut down. That's when the Coalition to Back Black Businesses along with American Express partnered to award 600 grants to Black small business owners all across the country.

“So we knew it wouldn’t just be enough to have the $5,000 grants -- although capital is critically important," U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation Executive Director Lawrence Bowdish said. "We knew we wanted to combine that with mentoring and coaching opportunities."

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Those businesses that apply will be randomly selected to win the grants. Some of the winners will also have a chance to win an additional $25,000 in the spring.

“About a third of the grantees used it for rent, current bills," Bowdish said. "About another third used it for increasing their staffing either hiring a new person who giving more hours to those who already have it.”

The coalition says it plans to continue the grant program through 2023.

Businesses interested in the grant program must apply by Wednesday, Sept. 22.

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