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Alexandria’s minority businesses getting boosts with AEDP and City Council grant funding

Black, indigenous and people of color-owned small businesses are about to get a small boost in Alexandria.

The Alexandria Economic Development Partnership just awarded $535,000 in grant funding for businesses, and to create two new groups — the Social Responsibility Group and the Alexandria Minority Business Association.

The funds were awarded to:

“We look forward to growing the energy in Old Town and Del Ray, increased prominence and participation for Eisenhower, Old Town North, and West End, and to better serving our minority businesses with the help of the Social Responsibility Group and the Alexandria Minority Business Association.” said Senay Gebremedhin, AEDP’s economic recovery manager.

Additionally, on Tuesday night (October 25), the Alexandria City Council unanimously approved releasing $500,000 in reserve funding for a new BIPOC incubator program.

The program will start in December, and award $5,000-to-$7,000 grants to businesses by this spring.

The legislation creating the program was brought forward by City Council Member Alyia Gaskins.

“This is a great start, but we’re going to need continued investment in these programs and in our businesses,” Gaskins told her colleagues on Council.

Gaskins and City staff agreed with the findings of a 2021 regional report, which shows that Northern Virginia’s 128,000 BIPOC businesses were severely impacted by the pandemic.

The Supporting Northern Virginia’s Minority-owned Businesses report said that minority-owned businesses experienced more devastation from the pandemic due to being “small in size, concentrating in high-risk industries, and experiencing difficulty securing capital.”

Businesses are eligible for the program if they:

  • Demonstrate they meet defined criteria around BIPOC- ownership
  • Are licensed to conduct business in the city
  • Are in good standing with City Hall with taxes and regulations

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