St. Louis Promise Zone co-host webinar “Black Lives Matter, and so do Black Businesses”

Image of a man working a bakery that says Black Lives Matter and SO do black businesses, SBDC logo

The Small Business Development Center Network in partnership with the St. Louis Promise Zone recently hosted a free webinar entitled “Black Lives Matter, and so do Black Businesses” to direct black-owned small businesses toward financial programs, technical assistance, and other support during COVID-19 and beyond.

“This dialogue was to make sure that African American-owned businesses know that these resources are available to them,” said Kevin Wilson, Executive Director of the Small Business Empowerment Center and moderator of the discussion.

The panel of experts also featured Executive Director of the Promise Zone Erica Henderson and Regional Director of the Small Business Development Technology Center Lynette Watson. Each panelist spoke on a specific set of resources and answered live questions from local business owners.

“We want to ensure that black businesses are prioritized, we have an intentional focus on black-owned businesses, and that we can put you on the path to success and resilience,” said Henderson. “We want to make sure that you are aware of the variety of funding opportunities that are available to make your businesses successful.”

View the PowerPoint here.

Among the topics discussed were:

  • SBA Paycheck Protection Program – The deadline to apply for this federal funding program, which was specifically created in response to the COVID-19 disaster, was Tuesday, June 30. However, business owners can still apply for traditional SBA (7A or 504) loans here.
  • SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) – These are traditional federal disaster loans with no application deadline, as long as funding is available. Business owners are encouraged to apply for EIDLs as soon as possible. You can find the application here.
  • SLEDP’s Small Business Resources Page – A collection of local and federal funding options and resources for small business owners, including the Small Business Grant Fund, for which borrowers who received PPP and/or EIDL funding are newly eligible.
  • Free Guidance from SBA Resource Partners – One-on-one counseling is available for free to small business owners through the Small Business Development Center, the Women’s Business Development Center, SCORE, the Minority Business Development Agency, and the Veteran’s Business Resource Center. Each of these organizations will help you with access to capital, whether that’s conventional lending, SBA lending, or local programs (city, county, state), and can provide resources to help with marketing research, business coaching, planning, strategy, and management.

For one-on-one support, the panelists encouraged black business owners to contact the St. Louis Small Business Empowerment Center at 314-405-8400 or [email protected].