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Foundation for the Carolinas launches new small business grant

Brian Collier
Tracy Russ
Foundation For The Carolinas
Foundation for the Carolinas Executive Vice President Brian Collier announces the Beyond Open grant at Project 658.

Foundation for the Carolinas announced Wednesday that they are launching a new grant program for diverse small business owners in the Charlotte area.

The new $20 million grant program, named “The Beyond Grant,” will be funded by Wells Fargo. The new grant will aid hundreds of small business owners in Charlotte from 2022 through 2024. Foundation for the Carolinas Special Advisor for Civic Initiatives Tracy Russ recognizes the gravity of the program.

“This program is important for diverse small business owners because many owners who are diverse, meaning minority, woman-owned, veteran-owned, LGBTQ, have had challenges accessing capital funds,” Russ said.

When most people start a business, one of the difficulties they face is having a substantial amount of capital just to get started. In a time of rising costs of things that are viable to business owners, this grant could be helpful for those either just starting or looking to improve their business.

“This would enable them to purchase equipment, technology, inventory and even space like real estate where their business can grow and thrive." Russ said. "So this program is focused on those diverse small business owners as a way for them to gain access to capital, build economically and build wealth. We’re very grateful for Wells Fargo for the support that makes this possible”

Major targets for the program are local businesses that are within the six “Corridors of Opportunity” that were identified by the city of Charlotte in 2020. While the grants are aimed at those on the west side of Charlotte, Russ says the program will not be limited to that area.

“We are focusing as a priority on businesses that are within the “Corridors of Opportunity,” but we will be making grants to businesses across the county and we are encouraging diverse small business owners to apply no matter where they are located.”

Applications for the Beyond Open program are open beginning Wednesday, Sept. 28, and will be open until 5 p.m. on Friday, October 28.

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Kenny is a Maryland native who began his career in media as a sportswriter at Tuskegee University, covering SIAC sports working for the athletic department and as a sports correspondent for the Tuskegee Campus Digest. Following his time at Tuskegee, he was accepted to the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program as a Marketing Intern for The NASCAR Foundation in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2017.