$9.7M in grants awarded for Virginia small-business assistance; Richmond Highway small-business directory started; teen entrepreneurs wanted

Thanks to a new Virginia Small Business Resiliency Fund, 12 organizations received $9.7 million in grants to create programs and products to expand access to capital and provide technical assistance for hundreds of small businesses suffering from COVID-19-related impacts.

Organizations receiving grants focused on Northern Virginia included Fairfax County-based Community Business Partnership, Arlington County-based ECDC Enterprise Development Group and the Latino Economic Development Corporation of Washington, D.C.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Virginia economy and the bedrock of our communities,” former Gov. Ralph Northam announced January 13, two days before leaving office. “These grants will provide needed support to our businesses to face the challenges of the pandemic.”

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development developed the Small Business Resiliency Fund with the purpose of supporting Virginia-based community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to build their capacity and increase economic activity in distressed communities throughout the Commonwealth.

The General Assembly allocated $10 million last year to establish a fund that would provide grants to CDFIs, community development enterprises or other entities whose primary purpose is to provide financing to small businesses in Virginia. CDFIs are private financial institutions certified by the U.S. Treasury Department to deliver responsible, affordable financing to historically underbanked and underserved people, small businesses, and communities.

“Access to capital remains a challenge for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said former Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “This funding will help meet the needs of and provide services to underserved businesses so they can thrive in their communities.”

The following projects are targeted toward businesses in Northern Virginia or statewide:

Community Business Partnership: $700,000 focused on Northern Virginia.

Community Business Partnership, headquartered in Springfield, will expand its target market into greater Northern Virginia and diversify its financial products and offerings through a revolving loan fund. CBP will increase its capacity to support its target markets, including small, woman-, immigrant- and minority-owned businesses, specifically at-home business operators, through business counseling and curriculum in various languages spoken in the Northern Virginia service area.

Funding will be deployed to increase CBP’s lending capacity and a loan loss reserve to support the lending. CBP will leverage grant dollars to secure future lending capital and technical financial assistance to help more than 150 borrowers.

Fairfax County and Northern Virginia are primary economic drivers for the region. And we believe that access to capital for struggling small and emerging businesses is a critical part in maintaining our economy’s vibrancy and diversity,” said Mark Scarano, executive director of the Community Business Partnership. “These funds will allow CBP to provide loans at reasonable interest and offer high-quality financial counseling to small businesses. It will help us achieve our ultimate goal of each client becoming credit-worthy for larger loans with traditional lenders.”

Latino Economic Development Center: $955,820 focused on Fairfax County.

Latino Economic Development Corporation’s (LEDC) will conduct a market study to determine small-business financing and target-market needs in Fairfax County. Once market validation is complete, LEDC will hire lending and technical assistance staff to provide comprehensive, culturally and linguistically competent technical assistance to their target market, expand loan loss reserves and create a revolving loan fund to assist 45 to 60 low- to moderate-income Latino and/or other underserved small businesses in Fairfax County.

ECDC Enterprise Development Group: $1,500,000 focused on Arlington County and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Manassas.

Enterprise Development Group will provide technical pre- and post-loan assistance focused on helping underserved communities, immigrant communities, and entrepreneurs of color who were disproportionately impacted by economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. EDG will leverage loan capital for microloans and will assist 54 businesses in receiving funding.

Other grants that apply statewide include:

Virginia Community Capital Economic Equity Fund 2022:

Virginia Community Capital (VCC) will expand its Economic Equity Fund Initiative (EEF), providing low-cost financing for small-, women-, and minority-owned businesses across Virginia that were disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Funding will assist VCC to support 15 or more businesses, expand its loan loss reserve and build internal capacity by hiring a technical assistance provider specifically for EEF clients and borrowers.

Expanding Food and Farm Micro-and-Small-Business Lending in Virginia: $555,000

Foodshed Capital will expand microlending and small business lending to Virginia farms and food businesses in geographies not yet served and funding activities that have traditionally lacked capital investments, including land procurement, food system infrastructure and food retail development. This project will help revitalize and boost local food systems in the wake of COVID-19 to ensure long-term food security. Funding will support loan loss reserve, capital for small and microloans, and operational support for staff. This project will help 74 food businesses across the Commonwealth.

Click here for more information on the Virginia Small Business Resiliency Fund.

Richmond Highway business directory

The Southeast Fairfax Development Corporation, Fairfax County Government and partner organizations have created a business directory to help inform residents of which businesses along the Richmond Highway corridor are open during the pandemic and how they can support local businesses whether they are open or not. Additionally, it is planned to offer various services including technical assistance, marketing, and pertinent information directly to local business owners affected by the current economic environment.

Click here to view the directory or you have a business on or near the Richmond Highway corridor and would like to be added to the list.

Deadline is Jan. 27 for teen entrepreneur boot-camp signup

Do you know a high school student interested in exploring basics of business and entrepreneurship?

TiE DC is hosting TYE Boot Camp 2022 on Saturdays from February 12 to May 14. The boot camp will be held in a hybrid format (in-person and online) at George Mason University in Fairfax.

TiE Young Entrepreneurs is a global educational program dedicated to developing future generations of entrepreneurs and industry leaders by teaching high school students the rewards and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur.

Program applications close at 5 p.m. this Thursday, January 27.

Click here for more information and to access the program application.