CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020) – The City of Charlotte on Wednesday announced an update to its Access to Capital program, which was created earlier this year in order to provide assistance to businesses in Charlotte that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Charlotte City Council allocated $30,340,000 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to the city’s Small Business Relief Fund and $7.15 million for its Food and Beverage Support program. In total, the city is in the process of distributing more than $90,000,000 of CARES Act funds to support the Charlotte community during the COVID-19 pandemic, including $58,010,000 through the Open for Business initiative, which supports small business and workforce programming. The city is still in the process of distributing more than $6,000,000 to support hotels and music venues.
“We are in unprecedented times, and our small business community has continued to show up every day and put in the hard work,” said Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles. “Our city has been steadfast in its commitment to business owners by providing more than $58 million in funding, and we’re not done yet. We will continue to work on the solutions that our community so greatly needs, and support them as they thrive into the future.”
The city partnered with Foundation For The Carolinas to administer the Small Business Relief Fund. A series of webinars were held to educate small businesses owners about the program and how to apply for funding through this program. In-person application clinics were set up at nine Charlotte-area YMCA locations, and significant outreach was made to immigrant-owned small businesses across the city.
“Small businesses are vital to the health and well-being of our community, and it’s been the Foundation’s privilege to be the City of Charlotte’s grantmaking partner for this crucial endeavor,” said FFTC President & CEO Michael Marsicano. “These more than 2,800 grants – spread throughout our diverse and wide-ranging Charlotte small business community – represent help to the business owners, their employees and the neighborhoods they serve.”
The Small Business Relief Fund awarded $10,000 to micro businesses with five for fewer employees and $25,000 to small businesses with six or more employees. A total of 4,469 applications were submitted, 3,821 of which were from micro businesses, while small businesses accounted for 648 submitted applications. Grant recipients were selected randomly from the list of eligible applicants with completed and correct applications.
Grants totaling $30,340,000 from the Small Business Relief Fund were awarded to 2,500 businesses, 71% of which were microbusinesses (2,144), while the remaining 29% were small businesses (356).
African American/Black-owned businesses accounted for 42% of grants awarded from the Small Business Relief Fund, followed by Caucasian/White (36%), Asian (10%), Hispanic (9%), Other (3%), and Native America/Pacific Islander (less than 1%).
Businesses in operation for eight or more years received 49% of grants from the Small Business Relief Fund, followed by businesses in operation for 4-7 years (24%), 1-3 years (26%), and businesses in operation for less than one year (1%).
In addition to the Small Business Relief Fund, the city created its Food and Beverage Support program to support businesses in the food and beverage industry that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city partnered with Foundation For The Carolinas to administer the grant program, which awarded $10,000 to micro businesses with five for fewer employees and $25,000 to small businesses with six or more employees. A total of 658 applications were submitted, 286 of which carried over from the original Small Business Recovery Fund. Of the 658 applications that were received, 67% were from small businesses (441) and 33% were from micro businesses (217). Grants were awarded on a first come first serve basis to eligible applicants with complete and correct applications.
Grants totaling $7,150,000 from the Food and Beverage Support program were awarded to 340 businesses, 87% of which were small businesses (250), while the remaining 13% were micro businesses (90).
Caucasian-owned businesses accounted for 56% of grants awarded from the Food and Beverage Support program, followed by Asian (25%), Hispanic (8%), African American/Black (7%), Other (4%), and Native America/Pacific Islander (less than 1%).
Businesses in operation for eight or more years received 44% of grants from the Food and Beverage Support program, followed by businesses in operation for 4-7 years (25%), 1-3 years (28%), and businesses in operation for less than one year (3%).
In addition to the direct financial assistance provided to businesses in Charlotte, the city developed its Open for Business website to help small businesses owners accelerate their recovery. Open for Business is a concept rooted in the ingenuity and compassion of our local economy. The city has also written a series of success stories about small businesses and micro businesses across Charlotte that received a grant from the city.
“The feedback that we’ve received from the small business community across Charlotte has been tremendous,” said Tracy Dodson, the city’s Assistant City Manager and Director of Economic Development. “Small businesses are the economic backbone of our city and we’re going to continue to support small businesses owners here in Charlotte to ensure that they have every opportunity to thrive.”