The Foundation For The Carolinas announced September 28 that diverse small business owners can apply through October 28 for the organization’s first round of grants, ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 in its Beyond Open program.
Established with a $20 million grant from Wells Fargo, Beyond Open will make grants to diverse-owned small businesses and organizations offering expertise to small businesses across three rounds of funding opportunities from 2022 through 2024.
For this first round of funding, Beyond Open grants are available to help historically underserved small businesses obtain capital assets such as equipment, technology, real estate, and inventory. Eligible applicants are business owners in Charlotte-Mecklenburg who identify as a minority, woman, veteran or LGBTQ and can be non-profit or for-profit businesses. Beyond Open grants do not need to be repaid. Beyond Open grants cannot be used for operating expenses including payroll, utilities, advertising/marketing, consulting, and debt repayment.
“Foundation for The Carolinas is proud to work with Wells Fargo to open up this opportunity for diverse small businesses because they play a critical role in creating economic mobility within our community,” said Brian Collier, executive vice president of Foundation For The Carolinas. “We encourage diverse small business owners from start-ups to established enterprises in Charlotte-Mecklenburg to apply.”
The grant program will prioritize businesses located in the six Corridors of Opportunity as identified by the City of Charlotte. Each of the corridors is rich in history and pride and has been identified as a focus area for economic development efforts.
“Enabling small business owners to acquire tangible assets like property and technology helps set them up for success long-term,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “We believe that Beyond Open grants for hundreds of small businesses in this community, coupled with support from community partners, will help diverse small businesses in Charlotte-Mecklenburg grow and prosper, creating good jobs for their employees, wealth for their owners, and value in their communities.”
Beyond Open will offer technical assistance to applicants through three business partner organizations, ASPIRE Community Capital, Prospera North Carolina, and Women’s Business Center of Charlotte.
Applicants are encouraged to apply before the Round 1 application deadline on October 28 at 5:00 p.m.
Beyond Open is led by the Foundation For The Carolinas and made possible by support from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund to help diverse (minority, woman, veteran, LGBTQ) small business owners grow businesses, build wealth, and expand economic mobility in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Information and application are available at beyondopenclt.com.