Baton Rouge announces $1 million small business recovery program

Restart BR Task Force launches $1M micro-grant program for small businesses in EBR Parish

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A new small business recovery program has launched to help Baton Rouge business owners who have been financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Resilient Restart EBR Program will support small businesses who are classified as low-to-moderate income individuals based on HUD guidelines, as well as, those who own and operate a business in a low-to-moderate income census tract in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Special consideration will be given to eligible minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, and veteran service-disabled-owned firms.

“Small businesses and microenterprises account for nearly 80% of our local economy and employ many of our residents. The coronavirus pandemic placed an unprecedented financial burden on our businesses — many did not receive federal assistance from the Payroll Protection Program or SBA Loans,” said Mayor Broome. “Through the collaboration of leaders in our community, we were able to join together and create a program to offer assistance to our small businesses when they need it most, and without the burden of repayment.”

Qualifying microenterprises and small businesses who apply will receive one-time grants of $2,500. The grant awards do not require repayment, and can be used for assisting with rent, utilities, inventory, accounts payable, fixed costs, employee wages, and benefits.

The $1 million program’s funding is derived from the CARES Act through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Program; the Louisiana Office of Community Development; Investar Bank; GMFS Mortgage; Urban League of Louisiana; ExxonMobil; and Postlethwaite & Netterville.

“The coronavirus pandemic presented unprecedented adversities to the State of Louisiana — especially the Baton Rouge community and it’s small business owners. Our community’s recovery will take dedication and participation from both our state and our local government,” said State Representative Ted James. " I am glad that the state could join Mayor Broome in her effort to provide support, and funding for our small businesses and microenterprises. This effort is helping us close the gap for our community.”

“Investar Bank is proud to support Mayor-President Broome’s new microgrant program to help small, minority-owned businesses. As part of the Mayor’s Restart BR initiative, we hope other businesses join us and contribute so that the program can begin funding those businesses in need,” said John D’Angelo, President and CEO of Investar Bank.

In addition to grant funds, the Resilient Restart EBR Program will offer access to entrepreneurial support services through The Urban League of Louisiana’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at no cost to micro-grant recipients.

Support services include:

  • Small Business Education
  • One-On-One Business Counseling
  • Comprehensive Business Planning and Support
  • Loan Packaging
  • Business Certifications

Eligibility requirements and program applications are available at: www.urbanleaguela.org/restartebr

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