ALEXANDRIA, VA – Earlier today (Jan. 11), the City of Alexandria announced a new grant program aimed at helping the owners of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) businesses. These businesses are an important part of the city, boosting its economy and attracting locals and tourists alike.
The pandemic hit small businesses hard. This grant program is the latest to aid in their recovery. The application will be posted HERE on Jan. 26 and remain open until Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. Chosen businesses could earn anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000 in assistance.
According to the city, eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to:
- Demonstrating at least 51 percent BIPOC ownership (definition on website)
- Licensed to operate and located in the City of Alexandria
- Employ between 0 and 100 people
The program website reads: “While many businesses have struggled and are still recovering in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these hardships are particularly felt by Black, Indigenous and people of color (“BIPOC”) owned businesses due to structural barriers and discriminatory financial lending practices.”
City Council approved funding for the program last October. The idea for the grant began when city leaders asked BIPOC owners what they needed to either maintain or start a business. Many mentioned “meaningful access. As a result, the city created the grant with the intent of focusing on three areas to aid businesses:
- Network that builds capacity
- Providing accessaible resources
- Lowering barriers to capital