Access to Capital
Small Business Recovery Program
The City of Charlotte Access to Capital Small Business Recovery Grant cycle is now closed.
More than 4,400 local businesses applied for grants and 2,500 received awards. As anticipated, these programs were oversubscribed, and the amount of available funding only allowed grants to just over 50% of applicants.
COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on our economy as well as the many businesses that help make Charlotte a vibrant city. We wish the federal funding for this program enabled support for all who applied.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did I not receive a grant?
As anticipated, these programs were oversubscribed, and the amount of available Federal CARES Act funding only allowed grants to just over 50% of applicants.
How much money was granted?
More than $30 million was granted to 2,500 businesses in increments of $10,000 or $25,000 based on employee count.
How were applications selected for review?
Eligible applicants with complete applications were randomly selected for review via a software algorithm – not on a first-come, first-served basis. Initially, businesses that had not received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program or other governmental funding were prioritized. Businesses that had received government funding became eligible for selection in mid-August.
I sent my application in on the first day. How could I not have been chosen?
Applications for the Small Business Recovery Grant program were selected randomly for review by computer software – not on a first-come, first-served basis. This randomized process did not rely on the timing of when the application was received. While applying early increased your chances for selection, it did not guarantee your application would be selected.
Were all businesses considered for random selection?
Only businesses that met the program's eligibility criteria and had a correct application were available for random selection.
Eligibility requirements were:
- Business must be headquartered within the city limits of Charlotte, NC.
- Must have 25 or fewer employees.
- Business must have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Business must have been established before January 1, 2020.
- Gross sales for 2019 must be at least $30,000 and less than $2 million.
- Applicants cannot currently be engaged in bankruptcy proceedings.
- Nonprofit organizations, liquor stores, check cashing agencies, gun shops, pawn shops and adult entertainment businesses are ineligible for this program.
- Applicants may not apply for multiple businesses.
Initially, businesses that had not received loans from the Paycheck Protection Program or other governmental funding were prioritized. Businesses that had received government funding became eligible for selection in mid-August.
I provided the additional documentation/information you requested. Why did I not receive a grant?
Our customer service team worked with hundreds of businesses who had problems with their applications. This was in order to ensure their applications were complete, correct and ready to go in the event they were randomly selected to be reviewed for a grant award. Unfortunately, there were businesses with correct applications that were not randomly selected for review. As anticipated, these programs were oversubscribed, and the amount of available Federal CARES Act funding only allowed grants to just over 50% of applicants.
Are there other grant opportunities?
At this time, the City of Charlotte does not have additional grant programs planned. We recommend that you continue to periodically check the City’s website www.CharlotteOpenForBusiness.com as other opportunities may be available in the future.
Giovy Buyers was raised in Ecuador by rose farmers, so it’s no surprise she became a successful florist as the owner of Southern Blossoms in Dilworth. When the shelter-in-place order took effect in March, Giovy was forced to close her doors. Soon after, her supply chain broke down and all upcoming events canceled. A $10,000 grant from the Access to Capital program will help Giovy pay rent as well as her vendors.
After career in teaching, Claire Putterman followed her passion for baking and launched Modern Muffin in 2011, helping people find delicious ways to eat healthier. The pandemic brought her production to a complete halt, as retailers stopped taking new items and some closed permanently. A $10,000 grant from the Access to Capital program will help Modern Muffin restore production, return to retailers and increase their online presence.
West End residents can count on Dogon Market for groceries, clothing and other essentials. “Helping the community with competitive prices drove me to be in this field,” said owner Tidiani Karambe.
However, the pandemic resulted in shorter operating hours, less foot traffic and expired inventory. A $10,000 grant will help Dogon Market pay bills and replenish inventory. “The application process was easy to understand,” said Tidiani.
Blue Ribbon K9 Academy
Carol Fox’s love for animals was the catalyst for starting her dog training business, Blue Ribbon K9 Academy. However, shelter-in-place orders ceased operations and dog training became impossible while maintaining social distancing. With a $10,000 grant from the Access to Capital program, Carol will update her business technology with camera and video recording capabilities to provide virtual training.
Businesses Across Charlotte Receive Grants
2,500 small businesses - such as restaurants, salons, fitness studios and more - in neighborhoods all throughout Charlotte received grants through the Access to Capital Program! The grant program, which was part of the City for Charlotte’s Open for Business initiative, distributed more than $30 million in federal funding to small businesses in Charlotte.
Flavor Seed was created when Adam Jenkins was inspired to honor his late father’s dream of owning an organic spice company. The pandemic stunted the company’s growth when engaging directly with customers was no longer an option. Adam plans to use the $10,000 grant received from the Access to Capital program to purchase new inventory and increase Flavor Seed’s online marketing presence.
Gracie Barra Charlotte
Brazilian-born Diogo Silva de Souza, a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and his wife Thea moved to Charlotte in 2011 to pursue their dream of opening their martial arts academy, Gracie Barra Charlotte. The shelter-in-place order meant closing the doors of the academy and the loss of a community and lifestyle that improves lives physically, mentally and spiritually. With 70% of their income lost, a $10,000 grant will allow Diogo and Thea to pay the rent owed to the current landlord and relocate Grace Barra Charlotte to a smaller and more affordable location.
B. Well Homes
Adrianne Pinkney’s business strategy for B. Well Homes is to provide “a home away from home” as a short and long-term rental solution to travelers in the Charlotte area. Travel ceased when the pandemic hit in March and within days guests were cancelling reservations leaving her properties vacant through June. A $10,000 grant from the Access to Capital program will allow Adrianne to pay the mortgage on her properties and re-hire one of her team members.
Matt Vivanco’s passion as owner of mvivancoPHOTOGRAPHY is to capture intimate love stories at weddings through the viewfinder of his camera. Wedding cancellations and postponements created a financial strain on his business that meant cancelling client subscription services and using personal finances as a resource to remain in business. Matt plans to use the $10,000 grant he was awarded to reinstate client services and acknowledge his clients with care packages filled with gifts from local businesses.
Studies abroad and a love for languages led Ron Ponton’s desire to start PSquared Linguistics as a business offering translation services for schools, law firms and government entities. PSquared Linguistics suffered a tremendous financial impact when schools shut down and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services closed. A $10,000 grant from the Access to Capital program will allow Ron to explore new initiatives to pivot services to remote learning and keep his staff employed.
Foundation For The Carolinas and the City of Charlotte thank our partners in this effort: