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Alexandria considering a $500,000 boost to local minority-owned businesses

Black-owned businesses in Alexandria (image via Visit Alexandria)

At an upcoming meeting, the City Council will consider releasing $500,000 in funding for a program to help incubate Black, indigenous and people of color-owned small businesses.

The funding is considered as part of the BIPOC-Owned Businesses Grant Program, which can then award a one-time grant of up to $7,000.

According to the docket:

Consideration of the release of $500,000 in FY 2023 Contingent Reserve Funding set aside for Minority Business Incubation for programs that support black, indigenous and people of color (“BIPOC”) owned small local businesses that enable the City to retain and grow existing businesses, recruit new business, and/or assist with start-up activities.

The summary of the program says that for businesses to be eligible, they must demonstrate they meet defined criteria around BIPOC ownership, license to conduct business in the City of Alexandria, and compliance with City fiscal and regulatory policies (“in good standing”).

The summary said that grants are awarded by tiers based on the business maturity — including factors like years in operation, brick-and-mortar presence, the number of employees — and the business’ needs. The average grant size is expected to be $5,000.

Businesses that did not receive funding as part of the various Covid recovery programs will be prioritized. According to the summary:

“It is anticipated that the number of eligible applicants may exceed the total funding currently available,” the summary said. “Businesses that did not receive prior Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”)/American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) grants… through the City (business grant programs administered by AEDP/ACT for Alexandria) will be prioritized.”

The proposal is scheduled for review at the City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25. If approved, the program would launch in December with review and selection in January and grants awarded starting in March.

Image via Visit Alexandria

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