Micro Grant Aims to Help Little Village Businesses

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Businesses continue to experience hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic and while financial initiatives are in place, many entrepreneurs in communities of color are left in the lurch unable to gain access to relief, particularly those in the community of Little Village. “When you look at the recipients who received the USA Small Business Association (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan program they were scarcely in Little Village compared to other neighborhoods across the city,” said Kim Close, chief operating officer of the Little Village Community Foundation. “What we are providing is relief, albeit the amount doesn’t solve the world’s problems, we truly work hand in hand with entrepreneurs to ensure they are able to stabilize their business.” Close is referring to the Little Village Community Foundation’s Road to Recovery program, funded by the McCormick Foundation, designed to work closely with and collect the input from communities primarily in Little Village and Englewood and create effective strategies and solutions.

The Road to Recovery program awards scholarships between $1,000 to $3,000 to businesses that includes use of technical assistance, restaurant assistance includes PPE, accounting, technology, and food and labor management trainings as well as business support services that include contracts, leasing, rent, workforce, and administration. “These are non-competitive grants and the criteria for applying for the loan is that they have a business license,” said Close. “Little Village offers so much and we really want to preserve the cultural identity of the neighborhood. Unfortunately, some of the obstacles we discovered were that a few had banking, some offered cash payments, there isn’t ample information out there. This program includes an educational component in the form of technical assistance, each loan recipient is paired up with a T.A. that assesses the business owner’s finance as well as creates solutions that will help the business to grow and sustain itself.” To date, the Little Village Community Foundation has helped 79 businesses along the Cermak Corridor awarding a total of $217,500 and looks to provide continued assistance. If you would like to learn more about the Road to Recovery program, visit www.lvcfchicago.org or call 773-521-5384.

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