CINCINNATI—The Fifth Third Foundation today announced the recipients of $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% 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 by city were:
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
Let's GO Transportation Inc.
Charlotte, North Carolina:
Charlotte Optometric Clinic
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
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
LMH Accounting & Consulting LLC
1st Legacy Homes LLC
Saffron Planning & Events LLC
Bella A.N.Ds Learning Center
Main Street Kids Academy
The McArthur Law Firm
Parson Cleaning Services
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
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.