Ford and the Urban League of Louisiana Launch $100,000 Initiative to Help Black Small Business Owners Hardest Hit by COVID-19

NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Ford Motor Company and its philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, are collaborating with the Urban League of Louisiana to provide micro-grants to Black business owners negatively afflicted by COVID-19.

The Emergency Capital Access Program (ECAP) will provide small grants, combined with technical assistance and advisory services, to Black business owners across the Greater New Orleans area.

The Urban League of Louisiana will receive $100,000 to provide crucial economic support to businesses providing a stabilizing influence for communities hard hit by the pandemic.

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“Small businesses are a cornerstone of the African American community and play a vital role in their economic success,” said Pamela Alexander, director of Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “The impact of the COVID pandemic has created economic uncertainty that necessitates immediate action. Our long-term partnership with the National Urban League allows us to quickly mobilize an initiative such as the Emergency Capital Access Program to get immediate assistance to those businesses in need.”

The ECAP initiative will be managed by the Urban League of Louisiana’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Eligible businesses:

  • Must have been a client of the Urban League of Louisiana as of July 1, 2020
  • At least 51 percent of the business is owned and operated by an African American/Black individual residing in and operating a business in the
  • Greater New Orleans area
  • Are located in Census tracts with greater than 25 percent Black residency
  • Provide direct to consumer products and/or services
  • Had revenue of less than $150,000 in 2019
  • Are able to demonstrate business losses of at least 25 percent as a result of COVID-19

Funding priority will be given to applicants who are graduates of either the Urban League of Louisiana’s Scale Up! Louisiana Program or the Women In Business Challenge Accelerator Programs.

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“The Urban League of Louisiana is proud to partner with Ford Motor Company and the Ford Fund to provide access to emergency funding for black-owned businesses in the Greater New Orleans area”, said Judy Reese Morse, President & CEO of the Urban League of Louisiana. “These are challenging times for our small business community. This infusion of capital can serve as a turning point for those most impacted by COVID-19.”

Grant awards may be used for rent, utilities, inventory, accounts payable, fixed costs, employee wages and benefits. These are grant awards and repayment by the recipient is not required. Applications for awards will be reviewed and granted on a rolling basis until all allocated funds are dispersed. Applicants should gather all required documentation prior to starting the application form.

“Access to capital is one of the biggest hurdles Black-owned businesses face, and the pandemic has only widened the racial disparity,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “Far-sighted and enlightened partners like Ford are essential to rebuilding an economy that is both fair and thriving. We’re extremely grateful for Ford’s support.”

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