Funding allocations prioritized to support traditionally underrepresented groups including women-, minority-, and veteran-owned businesses
BOSTON — By Sarah Finlaw – Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that nearly $49 million in grants to small businesses will be awarded through the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. In October, the $50.8 million grant program was announced as a key component of Partnerships for Recovery, the Administration’s comprehensive plan to get people back to work, support small businesses, foster innovation, revitalize downtowns, and ensure housing stability.
Of the businesses being notified of their successful applications, each meets the preferred criteria of being owned by women, minorities, veterans, individuals with disabilities, or that identify as LGBTQ. Additionally, every completed application received from a qualified minority-owned business that has not been able to receive prior aid from federal, state or local programs established to support businesses during the pandemic will be receiving relief.
“As the pandemic continues to create challenges across the Commonwealth, our administration is pleased to partner with Mass Growth Capital Corporation to award almost $50 million to small business owners disproportionately impacted by COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are thankful to our state, local and federal partners for their collaboration to equitably distribute these funds, and remain committed to working together to deliver additional relief to the families and businesses of Massachusetts.”
“Our administration is proud to announce almost $50 million in grants to support historically underrepresented small business owners as they navigate the pandemic,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. ”We thank Mass Growth Capital Corporation for their partnership to distribute these funds quickly, and look forward to continuing to work with business and community leaders to ensure a strong, equitable recovery from COVID-19.”
To increase applications from underrepresented groups, MGCC worked with a statewide network of local non-profits, small business technical assistance providers, and other organizations that support minority enterprises, including BECMA, Amplify LatinX, the Business Equity Initiative, Massachusetts Association of CDCs (MACDC), LISC and the statewide Coalition for an Equitable Economy, to reach businesses and entrepreneurs that would match the program’s priorities.
The Small Business Grant Program received over 10,000 applications seeking funds totaling over $500 million. Effective today, successful applicants will be notified that they have been awarded grants with further instructions on how to complete the process to receive funds. Nearly $49 million will be granted to small businesses, with the remaining funding having been used to encourage applications from targeted communities and to prevent fraudulent applications.
The grant program’s priorities, set forth in legislation, resulted in 1,158 small businesses being designated for an award. Among the successful applicants:
100 percent of all grantees are minority-, veteran-, LGBTQ-, or individuals with disabilities-owned businesses;
100 percent of qualified applications submitted by minority-women, minority-male, veteran-, LGBTQ-, and individuals with disabilities-owned businesses that have not received prior aid will be receiving funding;
95 percent of award recipients are minority-owned businesses; and
76 percent of award recipients are women-owned businesses.
“With the thoughtful combination of the program’s priorities and help from partner organizations who assisted with targeted outreach, we are able to provide direct financial support to the applicants that have the greatest need and also serve communities that are the most vulnerable to the virus,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “As additional resources become available, we will continue to prioritize the businesses and communities that have suffered the most.”
“Through these grant programs, MGCC and our partners have worked together to fulfill our mission of providing and supporting small businesses and are now distributing capital to the most vulnerable businesses across the Commonwealth,” said Larry Andrews, President of MGCC. “We look forward to working with the Baker-Polito Administration on utilizing additional resources to meet the many needs of small businesses, especially those that have been traditionally underserved.”
Governor Baker recently signed the FY21 budget, including an additional $17.5 million for the Small Business Grant Program. This funding will be distributed using the same criteria, and MGCC will review applications already submitted. Small businesses that did not receive awards in the first round do not need to reapply, and no new applications will be accepted. The FY21 budget also includes $17.5 million for community development financial institutions (CDFI) grants and loans, $5 million for small business technical assistance, and $3.9 million for technical assistance and grants, including for small business online and digital tools. Additionally, the Baker-Polito Administration recently filed a $107.4 million supplemental budget bill for Fiscal Year 2021. This bill proposes $49.4 million to fully fund the economic recovery and small business relief plan included in the Administration’s revised FY21 budget proposal and support the unique needs of small and minority- and women-owned businesses across the Commonwealth. Finally, a comprehensive economic development bill currently pending before the Legislature includes additional substantial investments in small businesses.
Beyond support for small businesses, Partnerships for Recovery includes substantial funding across both existing and new initiatives. In November, the 2020 Round of the MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program was announced, investing nearly $68 million in 36 projects to support housing, economic development and road safety projects across the Commonwealth. Community foundations received $10 million for COVID-19 Relief, funds that can be used for vital services such as food security, housing and utilities support, emergency childcare and transportation. Last week, the first grants from the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Grant Program were awarded, directing $1.7 million to cities and towns to conceive, design, and implement tactical changes to curbs, streets, and parking areas in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce. In the coming weeks, the Administration will be announcing grants to support cultural facilities such as museums, new funding to support internet connectivity, and local rapid recovery planning support for communities.