CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston is working to help women and minority business owners hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic.
The City of Charleston's Manager of Women and Minority Businesses, Ruth Jordan, says 90% of the CARES Act and PPP went to businesses not owned by women or minorities.
"We run the risk of having some businesses close forever," Jordan said.
She says many women and minority owned businesses can’t get loans because they do not have banking relationships, and they have not built up creditworthiness.
On Thursday, the city is applying for an Economic Development Assistance Grant that would provide $850,000 for these businesses impacted by COVID-19. This would be funded by revolving loan funds, through a joint partnership between Charleston LDC and the City of Charleston.
LDC is an organization that provides low-interest rate loans to women and minority owned businesses.
Jordan says the EDA Grant is targeting businesses who meet certain criteria. To be eligible, businesses must make less than $2 million annually and have less than 10 employees.
The city is also asking for an additional $100,000-dollars for EDA funds to assist with helping prepare under-served, under-banked, and marginalized businesses be lender ready, specifically to show their creditworthiness and ability to repay a loan.
This grant would also allow the city to provide access to online business webinars.
The webinars are intended to help small business owners learn how to prepare profit and loss statements, bring them legal aid assistance, and provide them with additional training on how to do business with the city and how to compete.
These workshops will be run by the city and resource partners, and will all be free for users.
The City of Charleston has already registered over 300 women and minority owned businesses for this grant program.
However, Jordan says if these dollars do come, they won’t be seen until late Fall or early 2021.
The City of Charleston urges the public to visit their website for more info on small business relief.