The Fifth Third Foundation recently announced $1.2 million in grants for Black, woman-owned businesses and the organizations that serve them through the Innovation Meets Main Street: Boosting Black, Woman-owned Businesses program, which was announced in September 2020.
The initiative was a partnership between Local Initiatives Support Corporation and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and was completely powered by Fifth Third as a part of a larger $8.75 million pledge to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We know owning and operating a business creates wealth and a legacy,” said Stefanie Steward-Young, chief corporate social responsibility officer at Fifth Third Bank. “Yet Black-owned business owners often face challenges securing capital to start and maintain their business – even more so during these challenging times. This initiative couldn’t be more vital for Black communities in metropolitan areas like Atlanta, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Louisville, Nashville and Orlando. We are glad to have been a force behind this initiative.”
Through this program, LISC received $1 million from the Fifth Third Foundation, with $630,000 in grant funding awarded to 63 small businesses and $250,000 for an investment in the Fearless Fund, a venture capital firm that invests in businesses led by women of color. The remaining money is supporting the delivery of technical assistance. To date, over 60 Black women have received funding or technical assistance to help them remain open.
Additionally, AEO received $200,000 from the Fifth Third Foundation to provide business owners access to MainStreet RISE, a suite of critical tech-enabled tools and resources to keep businesses open and selling during and after the pandemic. Through partnership with several industry partners, MainStreet RISE empowers entrepreneurs with capabilities that enable revenue generation, accounting and bookkeeping, marketing, and e-commerce. Valued at a total of $6,000, these services were offered free to small businesses. The funding also enabled AEO to launch the Small Business Resource Navigator, an online interactive tool that directs small businesses to local resources.
Innovation Meets Main Street fills a critical need in the economies of Black communities and for the small business community. Studies show that 41 percent of Black-owned businesses have been shuttered during the pandemic.
TaTanysha Rosby of Art Houze Alive in Sandy Springs, Georgia, is among the Innovation Meets Main Street grant recipients. “The grant was an amazing opportunity for us,” she said. “It allowed our team to stabilize in many areas. We were able to supplement our income and begin the process of developing our new online applications.”
Jacquelynn Byrf of Sweet Sistah Splash in Cincinnati agreed. “Due to COVID restrictions, Sweet Sistah Splash has operated at minimum capacity for almost a year, significantly decreasing our profits. The Innovation Meets Main Street grant has helped our business stay afloat during this trying time. It has helped with operational costs, supplies and more.”
“We were able to both sustain our operations and grow our business,” said Garnet Conerway of Terri’s Cakes Detroit. “As we continue to shift during this time, grants help us gain access to the supplies we need in the quantities we need them in. As supplies are in high demand, we need to purchase things in bulk quantities. The grants helped us with that significantly. Additionally, we were able to stay current on our bills during the lulls in business. Without these grants, we may have had to close our doors.”
The grant recipients:
- The Skin Institute of Atlanta
- Art Houze Alive
- Advisory CPA Group LLC
- Renee D. Samuels D.D.S. PC
- Eye Totally Care LLC
- The Red Door ATL LLC
- WrightNow Solutions
- Healthy Dining
- Let’s GO Transportation Inc.
- Kittness LLC
- MindSet Healthcare
- Lockstar LLC
- Charlotte Optometric Clinic
- Beauty Talks
- K.Moni Cosmetics LLC.
- The Blackmon Group LLC
- Boss Logistics LLC
- Anointed Flooring Inc.
- B Music Youth
- VQ’S Unique Cleaning Services
- Therapeutic Embrace OT Services
- The Voice of Your Customer
- Waverlys Hope Child Care LLC
- Balizza Healthcare Solutions
- Little Tree House of Knowledge Preschool
- RRight Now Communications
- Social Butterfly Events & Designs LLC, doing business as The Confetti Room
- Pope Financial Planning
- LFR Events and Consulting LLC
- Sweet Sistah Splash
- LiveWell Group, LLC
- Denson Construction Services, LLC
- IVY Kitchen
- Paralee Boyd
- RSVP Premier Group LLC
- The Law Firm of Amale Knox PLLC
- Lil Brilliant Mindz LLC
- Terri’s Cakes Detroit
- SKIN BAR VII
- My Dream Dress Bridal Salon
- Loose Massage Therapy Plus
- Genanscot Services LLC
- Detroit Smart Pages Newspaper LLC
Louisville, Kentucky Grants:
- Bonnet Bandits
- LMH Accounting & Consulting LLC
- 1st Legacy Homes LLC
- Saffron Planning & Events LLC
- Bella A.N.Ds Learning Center
- Main Street Kids Academy
Nashville, Tennessee :
- YBHT Fitness
- The McArthur Law Firm
- Parson Cleaning Services
- DuGard Communications
- B. J. Adams & Associates Inc.
- JP Augustin Law Firm PLLC
- Life Counseling Solutions
- Mama’s Fixins LLC
- Naked Bar Soap Co.
- Orlando African Braiding Center
- Preeminent Security LLC
- RythmTrail Entertainment Inc.
- Sun Cheaters LLC
More information about the organizations involved in the grants
About the Fifth Third Foundation
Established in 1948, the Fifth Third Foundation was one of the first charitable foundations created by a financial institution. The Fifth Third Foundation supports worthy causes in the areas of health and human services, education, community development and the arts in the states where Fifth Third Bank operates.
AEO is the leading voice of innovation for microbusiness and microfinance. We create economic opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs throughout the United States. We engineer transformational change through Research, Incubation, Convening & Advocacy to foster a robust and inclusive marketplace.
With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America—great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $22 billion to build or rehab more than 419,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 70.3 million square feet of retail, community and educational space. For more, visit www.lisc.org.
Looking for grants for your woman-owned business? Check out our 2021 Resource Guide for a list of options.