Access to capital can be one of the biggest challenges for founders of color.
Last week, 130 business owners in the Philadelphia region became the recipients of grants from two sources looking to spotlight and grow access to capital for underrepresented founders.
Founders First’s Job Creators Quest Grant
Thirty recipients were chosen by the Founders First, a national nonprofit that brings resources to revenue-generating businesses led by underrepresented founders. The org announced it was opening its second Job Creators Quest Grant fund that will dole out $100,000 in grants back in May, and late last month, it chose its grantees.
The grants went to business leaders in communities from Philadelphia and Bensalem, Pennsylvania to Camden and Newark, New Jersey that were chosen for their “compelling stories of entrepreneurship, impact on their communities and potential for growth and hiring,” Founders First said in a statement.
The companies must be founded by an entrepreneur who identifies as a minority, LGBTQIA+ or military veteran, or be located in a low-to-moderate income area. They also must be looking to hire for one to two new jobs in the next year.
Of the 30, 10 businesses come from Philadelphia proper, with a handful more hailing from nearby suburbs or South Jersey. They represent tech and business consulting, design, childcare, retail and other industries. The Philadelphia businesses include PHCA, Incredible Kids Learning Center, Dosso Beauty, LY Ecom Freedom, Sweet Treat Hut, Ancient Healing Teas, LaPutt Enterprise, Children’s Playhouse Early Learning Center and Pixel Parlor.
“This process is always very rewarding for us, because we can get a pulse on the businesses and passionate entrepreneurs behind every community in the region,” said Shaylon Scott, executive director of Founders First, in a statement. “The recipients this year represent a diverse coalition of leaders from all backgrounds and offer a clear indication that both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have a strong economic future.”
Comcast’s RISE Investment Fund
And in the second year of its program, Comcast has again awarded $1 million in grants to BIPOC-owned small businesses in Philly through the telecomms giant’s three-year initiative called RISE — representation, investment, strength and empowerment — to support US businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 100 local businesses each received $10,000 through the RISE Investment Fund grant program, and additionally, nearly 100 other small businesses are getting tech and marketing services through RISE. The businesses chosen run a variety of industries including tech, retail, food and drink service, finance, media, beauty and creative services.
David Bey, owner of grantee Beyfilmz Media in the Northeast, said he was excited to get the call about the grant, as it’s been tough to grow his businesses during these times and on his own.
“As a small business owner, I’m a one-man band — handling all of the administrative duties, answering phone calls and emails, as well as shooting, editing and production work,” he said in a statement. “Thanks to this grant, I plan to hire virtual assistants to help me with day-to-day administrative tasks so I can focus on my work, as well as dedicate resources toward marketing to help reach more clients.”-30-