Alliance Announces New Women and Minority-Owned Small Business Pilot Grant Program

Friday, October 1, 2021

The Charleston Area Alliance announced today a new small business pilot grant program targeted to women and minority-owned small businesses located within the City of Charleston.

The goal of the Pilot Grant Program for Women and Minority-Owned Small Businesses is to help existing women and/or minority owned small businesses located within the city limits of Charleston expand by increasing profitability. This will be achieved through mini-grants ranging from $2,500 to $5,000, and providing access to mentoring, training and low rent office space. The program is in partnership with the City of Charleston Mayor’s Office, Charleston Community Participation Grant Program, Truist Financial Corporation, Verizon Economic Development Fund and individual contributions.   A total of $50,000 is available in the first pilot round.

“Women and minority business owners struggle to have access to capital to develop and expand their businesses. This grant program will allow those business owners in Charleston an opportunity to apply for financial support to grow their businesses“, City Councilmember Becky Ceperley stated.

“It is our role at the Alliance to be a catalyst in this community for initiatives like this pilot grant program” stated Nicole Christian, President and CEO of the Charleston Area Alliance.  “Stimulating growth through a retention and expansion program focused on women and minority-owned small businesses and entrepreneurs is vital to our region’s economic development strategies.”

According to Fundera by nerdwallet in an article published in December 2020, the U.S. has 12.3 million women-owned businesses, generating $1.8 trillion a year. Women started 1,821 net new businesses every day last year. The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship has reported that minority-owned businesses accounted for more than 50% of the two million new businesses started in the United States. There are now more than four million minority-owned companies in the U.S., with annual sales totaling close to $700 billion. Yet, despite that growth for women and minority-owned small businesses, there is still a disparity when it comes to access to capital.

The guidelines and grant application will be posted on on October 1. All grant applications for this pilot round are due by 4:00 pm on Friday, October 29.  Applications must be submitted electronically.

The Charleston Area Alliance is a community and economic development organization passionate about connecting businesses, entrepreneurs and young talent with the resources needed to succeed in the Kanawha Valley region of West Virginia.