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Urban League program to aid minority-owned businesses


The Urban League of Rochester has announced a new $300,000 program to support small businesses in Monroe County. 

The Sustaining Small Businesses and COVID-19 Relief Grant Program is intended to help selected woman- and minority-owned businesses.

The Urban League has been providing education and training for startups and small minority-owned businesses through its entrepreneurial assistance center for 25 years. It recently partnered with the ESL Federal Credit Union Charitable Foundation to provide the relief program for those affected by the pandemic.

Chantz Miles, the Urban League’s director of business development, said ESL was excited to assist with their efforts.

“We connected with them and explained what we’re looking to do and how the Urban League is looking to support the businesses within the community, and ESL was all about it,” said Miles.

Applicants selected must be woman-, minority- or veteran-owned businesses that make less than $500,000 in revenue and meet other criteria.

Miles said grants awarded will vary by the size of the business, but any amount can make an immediate impact for businesses owners during this time.

“You have businesses that need to pay rent. You have people that have some maintenance that need to be taken care of, you have salaries that need to be paid," said Miles.

Miles added that there are no credit requirements and those selected are not required to pay the money back.

The Urban League is accepting applications until Feb. 1.

April Franklin is a reporter at WXXI News, a media partner of CITY.