This article first appeared on the Business Journals website.
The Small Business Administration is extending the deadline for a $ 100 million grant program designed to connect small businesses to SBA support and programs.
The Community Navigator Pilot Program will provide $ 1 million to $ 5 million in grants to eligible organizations to provide advice, networking and informal connection to agency resources to help small businesses emerge from the economic devastation caused by the COVID pandemic -19.
However, the original deadline to apply for these scholarships was July 12 – which has now been extended to July 23. The agency plans to present awards under the program in September.
“This program is designed to enable a hyperlocal approach through a nationwide network of community browsers who connect, empathize and truly personalize solutions for our small businesses during critical recovery,” said Mark Madrid, associate administrator of the SBA for the Entrepreneurial Development Office, in a press release. announcing the extension of the deadline. “This bold effort underscores our agency’s commitment to fostering fairness and strengthening an ecosystem in which small businesses continue to utilize the diverse range of SBA resources, services and / or programs at different stages of recovery, from the growth, size and growth / or maturity of the business. “
The ultimate goal of the grants program is to revitalize small businesses through a “hub-and-spoke” model in which a hub is at the center of a number of talk organizations that use community advocates to work with them. small businesses to recover from the COVID-19 Crisis and better connect with small businesses of minorities, veterans and women.
“Inclusion and access remain a top priority to help small businesses recover. Our underrepresented women and Native American businesses now need our support to grow and strengthen our economies, said Natalie Madeira Cofield, SBA deputy administrator for the Women in Business Property Office, in a press release. .
The program lasts for two years, starting September 1, 2021 and ending August 31, 2023. Eligible organizations include state and local governments, business development organizations, small business development centers, colleges and universities in nonprofit and community development financial institutions, among others.
Interested organizations can find out more about the program and how to apply here.
The new grant program was approved by Congress in early 2021 under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and follows criticism that the first wave of COVID small business assistance funding provided by the Paycheck Protection Program and others went in 2020 to well-connected businesses with better access to financial services, rather than the businesses hardest hit by the pandemic.
In 2021, the Biden administration made policy changes and optimizations to various COVID relief programs, including special closings in the PPP for small community lenders, as well as changes that allow small businesses to gain larger loans under the program.
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund included a 21-day priority window for grants to socially and economically disadvantaged restaurants, despite the SBA enduring a series of court rulings that ended that window and left thousands of small businesses without restaurant subsidies.