The Backing Small Businesses grant program presented by American Express, in partnership with Main Street America, is accepting applications now through Friday, April 7. To support economically vulnerable small business owners in growing their businesses and fostering a thriving small business community, grants of $5,000 will be awarded to 350 business owners in the U.S. and territories.
Twenty-five of the 350 grantees will also be awarded $25,000 Enhancement Grants, allowing business owners the opportunity to further enhance their businesses. These winners will be announced in October 2023.
What types of grant expenses are eligible?
Eligible grant expenses include but are not limited to:
- Accessibility Upgrades (Examples: ramp, menu translation, accessible website redesign for visually impaired people, etc.)
- Community Events and Programs (Examples: open mic night, public educational/training workshops, hosting community fundraisers, partnerships with other small businesses)
- Equipment and Inventory (Examples: point of sale device/software, purchasing of items for sale, display cases, kitchen equipment)
- Marketing (Examples: investing in social media campaign, building a website, etc.)
- Operational Strategy (Examples: branding package, accounting software, business coaching, and other types of support that would increase the viability of your business)
- Physical Improvements (Examples: signage, awnings, painting facade, new shelving, new lighting, etc.)
- Sustainability Upgrades (Examples: solar panels, rain garden adjacent to business, investing in reusable/compostable/recyclable packaging alternatives, etc.)
- Technology Upgrades (Examples: building an online storefront, online ordering system, or other e-commerce platform)
- Rent and utilities
What types of businesses are eligible?
Businesses must meet the following criteria to apply:
- The applicant must be an owner of the business.
- The applicant must be at least age 18 years or older.
The business must be at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by small business owners who identify as:
- Asian American and/or Pacific Islander
- Black and/or African American
- Hispanic and/or Latinx
- Immigrants, Refugees, and/or Forcibly Displaced
- Members of the LGBTQIA+ Community
- Middle Eastern and/or North African
- Native and/or Indigenous
- People with Disabilities
- The business is in a "brick-and-mortar" location and operate in an older or historic main street, downtown, or commercial district in the United States. (Home-based businesses, even those located in historic neighborhoods, are not eligible. Brick-and-mortar businesses located outside of historic downtowns and commercial corridors, including, but not limited to, office parks and shopping malls are also not eligible.)
- The business is an independent business and not part of a franchise.
- The business must employ less than 20 full-time employees.
- The business has been in operation since January 1, 2022.
- The business must be a business entity in good standing in the state in which it was formed and the state in which it does business.
- The business has an active business license in the state where you do business.
MORE INFO + APPLY HERE