KALAMAZOO — A grant program launched last year to provide crucial relief to small businesses in Kalamazoo at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic will offer a second round of funding to 90 additional businesses.
The Kalamazoo Micro-Enterprise Grant program will provide $5,000 grants to eligible microbusinesses in the city. The program is funded by the city, United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region, and the Foundation for Excellence. Businesses that received funding in the first round will not qualify for the grant program this year.
“Our partnership with the city of Kalamazoo on (Kalamazoo Micro-Enterprise Grants) last year showed how we can make a powerful difference together for this vital business sector,” United Way BCKR President and CEO Chris Sargent said in a statement. “We’re proud to collaborate again to benefit these businesses, the people who operate them and the community they serve.”
One of the requirements to apply for this funding round is that micro-enterprises, or microbusinesses, can only have 10 or fewer employees. Microbusinesses of this size make up about 75 percent of private sector employees, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Many are also owned by women and people of color.
According to a program announcement, the latest funding round aims to support women, community members of color, and those living below the Asset Limited Income Constrained and Employed (ALICE) threshold.
The application window is open from June 7 to July 5, and the United Way BCKR will administer the grants.
Other application requirements include being a for-profit company, having an annual revenue of $1 million or less, and being in existence for one year or longer. Recipients must use their grant funds within six months and report back to the United Way on how the funds were used.
The grant program “fills an important need in our community, helping the smallest businesses get help and persevere through this challenging time,” said Antonio Mitchell, community investment manager for the city of Kalamazoo.