The COVID-19 pandemic placed an overwhelming strain on small businesses and for minority-owned businesses, that already face a number of barriers to resources, the need for support has been all the more pressing. Knowing the challenges Black and Brown business owners face in surviving the pandemic, the Metropolitan Business League (MBL) applied for a Virginia Business District Resurgence Grant to expand their existing We Care Recovery Project, which is a $1.5 million relief fund to support small, women and minority-owned businesses located in Richmond, Virginia’s Art and Culture District.
Metropolitan Business League has been working in Central Virginia for over 50 years to foster business development and expansion for small, women- and minority-owned businesses. In addition to the grant funds available to businesses through the We Care Recovery Project, MBL also provides financial counseling and aids businesses in sustaining funding pathways and establishing better relationships with lenders.
With support from the $100,000 Resurgence Grant, MBL provided 10 businesses in the Richmond Arts District with legal, accounting, marketing, and website design training, along with one-on-one business coaching and mentoring. Each benefiting business also received a direct grant of $2,500 or $5,000 (depending on need) and a complimentary, year-long MBL membership. MBL also used the Resurgence Grant funds to create a building inventory of the Arts District and worked to pair emerging entrepreneurs with vacant spaces. Through these efforts, MBL helped four new businesses move into the Arts District and set up shop!
The Resurgence fund seeks to advance and accelerate the post-pandemic recovery of Virginia’s business and commercial districts. Specifically, these funds support historically economically disadvantaged communities and other business districts that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Through expanding organizational and business support grants, funding has helped to create a more inclusive framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization and vitality.
Have a project that Resurgence funds could, potentially, help support? Check out the Virginia Main Street (VMS) FY24 Grant Manual and the Resurgence How-to-Apply Webinar for more information!
Photo Credit (Arts District) – STV Incorporated
Photo Credit (MBL Logo) – NBC 12