The Fifth Third Foundation today announced the recipients of $1.2 million in grants for Black, woman-owned businesses and the organizations that serve them through the Innovation Meets Main Street: Boosting Black, Woman-owned Businesses program, which was announced in September 2020.
The initiative was a partnership between Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and was completely powered by Fifth Third as a part of a larger $8.75 million pledge to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know owning and operating a business creates wealth and a legacy,” said Randy Koporc, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank (Georgia). “Yet Black-owned business owners often face challenges securing capital to start and maintain their business – even more so during these challenging times. This initiative couldn’t be more vital for Black business owners in Metro Atlanta. We are glad to have been a force behind this initiative.”
Through this program, LISC received $1 million from the Fifth Third Foundation, with $630,000 in grant funding awarded to 63 small businesses and $250,000 for an investment in the Fearless Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in businesses led by women of color. The remaining money is supporting the delivery of technical assistance. To date, over 60 Black women have received funding or technical assistance to help them remain open.
Additionally, AEO received $200,000 from the Fifth Third Foundation to provide business owners access to MainStreet RISE, a suite of critical tech-enabled tools and resources to keep businesses open and selling during and after the pandemic. Through a partnership with several industry partners, MainStreet RISE empowers entrepreneurs with capabilities that enable revenue generation, accounting and bookkeeping, marketing, and e-commerce. Valued at a total of $6,000, these services were offered free to small businesses. The funding also enabled AEO to launch the Small Business Resource Navigator, an online interactive tool that directs small businesses to local resources.
Innovation Meets Main Street fills a critical need in the economies of Black communities and for the small business community. Studies show that percent of Black-owned businesses have been shuttered during the pandemic.
TaTanysha Rosby of Art Houze Alive in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is among the Innovation Meets Main Street grant recipients. “The grant was an amazing opportunity for us,” she said. “It allowed our team to stabilize in many areas. We were able to supplement our income and begin the process of developing our new online applications.”
Jacquelynn Byrf of Sweet Sistah Splash in Cincinnati agreed. “Due to COVID restrictions, Sweet Sistah Splash has operated at minimum capacity for almost a year, significantly decreasing our profits. The Innovation Meets Main Street grant has helped our business stay afloat during this trying time. It has helped with operational costs, supplies and more.”
“We were able to both sustain our operations and grow our business,” said Garnet Conerway of Terri’s Cakes Detroit. “As we continue to shift during this time, grants help us gain access to the supplies we need in the quantities we need them in. As supplies are in high demand, we need to purchase things in bulk quantities. The grants helped us with that significantly. Additionally, we were able to stay current on our bills during the lulls in business. Without these grants, we may have had to close our doors.”
The grant recipients in Atlanta are:
The Skin Institute of Atlanta
Art Houze Alive
Advisory CPA Group LLC
Renee D. Samuels D.D.S. PC
Eye Totally Care LLC
The Red Door ATL LLC
Let’s GO Transportation Inc.