City of Charleston working on programs to help minority businesses

VIDEO: City of Charleston working on programs to help minority businesses

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The City of Charleston says they will soon be launching new workshops to help minority owned businesses get back on their feet and prepare for future economic crisis.

The Minority Business Enterprise Advisory Board says they are meeting Thursday to discuss their plans for the last quarter of the year.

City of Charleston Manager of Women and Minority Businesses Ruth Jordan says they’ve hosted similar workshops over the past few years, but this year it is exceptionally important.

“It is extra important this year because when businesses catch a cold, small and women and minority businesses catch pneumonia,” Jordan said. “So, the pandemic has hit women and minority businesses harder than other businesses.”

The board says they will be discussing two workshops they plan to host in the next few months for women and minority owned small businesses looking for banking partners and loans.

In January, the city plans to partner with the Small Business Administration to host a free “Lending Match-Making Workshop” where they will bring in lenders like Wells Fargo and BB&T, as well as other smaller local lenders like Credit Unions, for women and minority business owners to meet and partner with them.

Before that, the city and the SBA say they plan to hold a “Branding and Getting Ready to Borrow” workshop at the end of this year for businesses to make sure they understand the loan process and have everything they need before meeting those lenders.

Businesses will be advised to gather things like business plans, mission statements, two years of income tax records and other documents. Jordan says this workshop will probably be held in December and that the board hopes to release those dates soon.

Jordan says information will be sent out on Eventbrite and will be posted on The City of Charleston’s website. The website also has instructions on how to join The Minority Business Enterprise Advisory Board’s mailing list or find any additional information on minority business assistance.

“What we tried to do is continue to provide assistance and help where we can, particularly for these businesses,” Jordan said. “Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses will go out of businesses forever if they don’t receive help or any kinds of assistance.”

In June, the city says they applied for an Economic Development Assistance Grant that would provide $850,000 for these businesses impacted by COVID-19. Jordan says the city has been awarded the EDA funds and they will be funded by revolving loan funds, via a joint partnership between Charleston LDC and the City of Charleston.

Jordan says the city is working with the LDC to finalize the elements for a memorandum of understanding between city and EDA for the grant.

The Minority Business Enterprise Advisory Board says they are planning to hold a news conference in early October with information on how businesses can complete a revolving loan fund application and who qualifies.

Jordan says the goal is to give preference to businesses located in the city.

Information on these new workshops and programs will be discussed at Thursday’s meeting and posted on The City of Charleston’s website, as well.

The Minority and Women Business Enterprise Advisory Board meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. and will also be accessible through Zoom by using Conference Call Number: 1-929-205-6099, and access code: 82759427256.

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