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Funds available for MWBEs during pandemic

The Urban League of Rochester N.Y. Inc. has been selected to administer a $100,000 small business stabilization fund provided by the KeyBank Business Boost & Build Program powered by JumpStart.

The Small Business Relief and Retooling Grant Program will support minority- and women-owned businesses in Monroe County and is part of a $500,000 commitment by KeyBank and Jumpstart to provide relief to small business communities throughout Upstate New York in response to the economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Small Business Relief & Retooling Grant program will augment the city of Rochester’s successful Business Emergency Retention Grant (BERG) by providing targeted assistance to MWBE businesses. The BERG grants, averaging $2,000, may be used for working capital, business expenses to continue operations and to retain employees. Together, the two grants can provide qualified city businesses with as much as $7,000 in grant funding, officials said.

“I applaud KeyBank and the Urban League of Rochester for creating the Small Business Relief and Retooling Grant to help minority- and women-owned businesses survive the economic storm brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in a statement. “This grant will complement the success of the city’s Business Emergency Retention Grant and help keep minority- and women-owned businesses viable through this challenge. Public-private partnerships like this play a vital role in our efforts to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities.”

Vulnerable communities including communities of color have been particularly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Small business owners are facing challenges in sustaining their business during this period and many are ineligible or not positioned to receive federal relief funding, officials noted in the statement. The funding is intended to fill identified gaps in relief funding while also providing technical assistance and one-on-one business consultation, including financial resiliency training classes provided by the Urban League in partnership with TruFund Financial Inc., a New York City-based Community Development Financial Institution.

“The COVID-19 crisis has presented unprecedented challenges to small businesses in our region and they need our collective support,” said Phil Muscato, KeyBank Rochester Market president. “We are proud to partner with JumpStart to provide crucial funding, assistance and hope that will help our community move forward and recover.”

Eligible minority- and women-owned businesses in the industries of service and hospitality, lifestyle or health and wellness, can receive grants of up to $7,000 per business while funds last. Grants will be prioritized for those who could not receive or who were not eligible for emergency relief funding through the SBA.

“Now, more than ever, small business owners need the support of the Urban League to help pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Urban League President and CEO Seanelle Hawkins. “We are grateful to KeyBank for its continued commitment in supporting our community with a keen focus on small businesses. The program will help business owners implement resiliency and retooling strategies to help their businesses move forward and grow.”

vspicer@bridgetowermedia.com / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

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