It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected minority-owned businesses. Recently, Shaker Heights Development Corporation launched a grant program to help them with health and safety improvements, PPE, and online marketing.
In December, the agency awarded $24,500 in grant funding to 18 businesses. Grant amounts ranged from $200 to $2,000, with the average amount being $1,400, said Nick Fedor, executive director of the Shaker Heights Development Corporation (SHDC). The program was funded by Citizens Bank, the Shaker Heights economic development department, and the Ohio Community Development Corporation Association.
The businesses that received funding are:
· FASS Management & Consulting
· Eldridge Tax and Accounting Services
· Iron Koi, LLC
· The Gentlemen’s Cave Luxury Barber Lounge
· Studio 202
· Dance~by Sha’RaLauncharts Media LLC
· Angie’s Beauty Salon
· Shaker Hts. Nutrition
· Shaker Jazzy Clips
· Shell’s Learning Center LLC
· Urban Recycling and Demolition, Inc.
· Urban Salon Suites LLC
· Sgro’s Barbershop
· The Pearl Asian Kitchen
· African Art
· CarTeCor Management LLC
Fedor said the grant program came out of feedback they heard in roundtable discussions in March 2020. “What we heard was customer foot traffic was down, revenue was down, and lots of places were laying people off and furloughing people,” he said. “The SBA loans weren’t necessarily helping small businesses, because when you have 2-25 employees, adding more debt to the business isn’t necessarily the way to go.”
While some businesses invested in PPE and health and safety improvements like adding plexiglass, other businesses invested in their online presence and marketing. For example, Iron Koi, a fitness provider, was able to switch to online classes, while Pearl Asian ramped up their curbside pickup and online presence.
One of the reasons SHDC decided to focus on PPE is because businesses identified this as a need. “Nobody budgeted for that,” he said. “Our grant funds helped lesson the blow for these businesses.”
Check out The Land’s past reporting on how minority-owned businesses are being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic here and here.
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