The U.S. Small Business Administration is now accepting applications for its new Community Navigator Pilot Program, which provides $100 million in grants to set up support networks for the nation’s smallest businesses, especially those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, women, and veterans.
This new initiative, established by the American Rescue Plan, is a funding opportunity open to nonprofit groups, state and local governments, SBA resource partners, and other organizations, the SBA said. Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period.
Selected partners will engage in targeted outreach to small businesses in underserved communities to ensure they have the resources and support needed to get back on track as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic.
“The Community Navigator Pilot Program is a crucial addition to our SBA programs because it helps us to connect with small businesses that have historically been underserved or left behind,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman.
“These businesses – the smallest of the small in rural and urban America, and those owned by women, people of color, or veterans – have suffered the greatest economic loss from this pandemic,” Guzman said. “We’ll be using a hub and spoke model in local regions across the nation to bridge the gap between local entrepreneurs and SBA’s resources and programs.”
The Community Navigator Pilot will provide counseling, networking and the technical assistance needed by small businesses during this time of economic recovery, the SBA said. Applications will be accepted through July 12 and award decisions are expected to be announced in August.
For more information on the Community Navigators Initiative, go to www.sba.gov/navigators.