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Columbus Urban League Partners with First Financial to give grants to businesses started by BIPOC

Applications for the $2,500 grants will be taken until Friday, March 19, 2021.

The Columbus Urban League has set out to help many hit hard by the pandemic over the past year.

Aside from risks involved with getting COVID-19, businesses and their employees saw finances take a tumble in 2020 and into 2021.

In a partnership with the Columbus Urban League and First Financial Bancorp, 10 grants for $2,500 are available for start-up small businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC.)

The money is part of the Urban League’s Minority Small Business Resiliency Initiative.

Stephanie Hightower, the president of The Columbus Urban League said this money is much needed.

“COVID really illuminated disparities as it already related to black and brown folks and particularly small businesses. Because of structural racism, there hasn't been the ability for small businesses to get loans,” she said.

“If we could put a little seed money in your pocket to get you over this hump… we're really proud of the fact that we've become that trusted partner.”

She noted this money is also an effort to keep jobs in the community.

“That’s what small businesses are all about. how do we help them keep those jobs? I don't care if it's two or three people. That has a big impact on the total community, and if we can keep more of them afloat, then we keep more people in jobs”

Eligibility requirements

  •  Business must be majority Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned;
  • Business must have been registered with the Ohio Secretary of State between September 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. Any applicant that did not start their business during this period will automatically be deemed ineligible.
  • Business must be located in Central Ohio (Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway, or Union counties).
  • Businesses that have received the Franklin County Equity Fund, Columbus/Franklin County Small Business Recovery Grant, Paycheck Protection Program, or Economic Injury Disaster Loan ARE NOT eligible for this program.

Interested businesses can find out what other materials they need to apply and where to send their application here.

There are other ways The Columbus Urban League reaches out to those in need in their community.

You can find out more about them on their website.