Project Title: Readying Small Businesses for Capital Access
The COVID-19 crisis and associated economic downturn disproportionately impact Black and other minority-owned businesses across the U.S., in part because they have more difficulty securing business loans than non-minority-owned enterprises. Minority-owned businesses can also lack the cash flow buffer needed to remain liquid during downturns, as well as lacking access to traditional sources of capital such as bank loans. With funding from Walmart, Winrock’s Readying Small Businesses for Access to Capital program will provide business development support to Black-owned e-commerce and wholesale retail enterprises in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi to help them seek, prepare for and tap into new sources of capital to sustain and expand their businesses. The program directly responds to some of the most urgent needs of Black-owned businesses reeling from COVID. To survive and thrive, these enterprises not only need help evaluating and applying for new loans, they can benefit from support for business plan development, prototyping and patenting advice, customer discovery assistance and peer networking, and other forms of technical assistance. Perhaps most importantly, these historically underserved businesses need access to new sources of capital. This program will help to connect Black-owned businesses to potential loan, grant and investment opportunities through programs including, but not limited to, the Southern Opportunity and Resilience (SOAR) fund.