Grow Now! Financial Equity Fund

An initiative of the Corporate Partners for Racial Equity administered by

The San Antonio Area Foundation (SAAF), in partnership with Corporate Partners for Racial Equity, has created a $1.75 million fund to support black-owned micro and small businesses in Bexar County over a three-year period launching the Spring of 2022. The first program year will award a total of $500,000. 

Years of national data show a clear pattern of inequity in access to credit and capital for black-owned businesses, thereby limiting the establishment, expansion and growth. This fund, administered by LiftFund, offers businesses* access to capital as well as a menu of comprehensive services that include grant funding, business advising, networking, and marketing opportunities.

*must meet eligibility requirements

The first round of applications will open
Monday, April 18th at 9:00 am and close Friday, April 29th at 5:00 pm CDT.
All completed applications will be reviewed for eligibility and prioritized based on established parameters. Below you will find more details about this program, including eligibility, scoring methodology and timeframe.

Grant Awards

The program will provide financial support in the form of grants up to $35,000 to eligible micro and small for-profit businesses.

In addition to funding, the grant awards include: Financial & Business planning consultations with LiftFund, including a pre- and post-funding assessment; Values Based Leadership program; access to specific workshops based on the business and financial client needs; and connection with a personal mentor.

The grant funds will be distributed in three allocations over a six-month period contingent on completion of the following: 

  • Three (3) financial consultations with LiftFund advisors
  • Three (3) workshops:
    • One (1) workshop on Values Based Leadership
    • Two (2) additional workshops based on the business goals
  • At least one (1) mentor session

Additionally, two (2) follow up consultations are required after the grant is fully funded.

Grant funding timeline will be established with an award agreement that includes the following program requirements: 

  • Grantee completion of Values Based Leadership workshop & one consultation – 1/3 of grant funding
  • Grantee completion of 2nd workshop & one consultation – 1/3 of grant funding
  • Grantee completion of 3rd workshop and one consultation final – 1/3 of grant funding

Business Support Benefit 

As a value-added benefit of this program the LiftFund Women’s Business Center will provide financial and business support guidance and coaching to award recipients to leverage the funding received. 

  • Values Based Leadership Session
  • Business Workshops in the following areas: 
    • Digital Marketing & Sales
    • Accounting and Tax
    • Small business legal issues
    • Small business insurance 
    • Building sales and growth relationships

To be eligible for this program, businesses must meet the following criteria: 

  • Ownership – Majority Black-owned business (51%+) 
  • Location – Business located in Bexar County, use this map to confirm location
  • Business Status – For profit businesses that have been in operations for at least 3 years prior to application date
  • Revenue – Maximum of $1 million in gross revenue
  • Employees – Currently employing at least one (1) full time employee (40 hours/week), including owner
  • Good Standing – Not in bankruptcy and no outstanding Texas Comptroller ‘s Office or tax obligations or liabilities

Businesses not eligible for consideration include nonprofits, gambling/gaming, sexually oriented, payday and auto loan providers. You can view the list of prohibited NAICS codes here. 

  • Current debt verification (debt schedule, statements from creditors)
  • Tax Return – 2021 Business Return 
  • Verification of current income – 2022 Year to date Profit & Loss, Cash Flow Statements or January, February and March business bank statements. 
  • Valid Driver’s license or other government issued photo ID  
  • Proof of business location- utility bill, business lease, or most recent rental invoice
  • Proof of number of employees (YTD payroll report, Q1 2022 Form 941, or proof of owner’s draw)

Additional documents may be requested for verification purposes.

Grant applications will be assessed and scored based on the responses provided. Applications will be reviewed and evaluated after the application has closed. The applications with the highest scores will be submitted for approval. The following four areas will be scored on a scale of 1 to 5 with a maximum score of 20: 

  • Articulation of grant budget  
  • Funding will solve business needs
  • Business debt coverage ratio
  • Number of Employees

The following limitations apply: 

  • Applicants are eligible to receive only one grant award 
  • Only one grant may be awarded per business with more than one location 
  • Limited to one grant per physical address within Bexar County.

The Grow Now! Financial Equity Fund will accept applications online beginning Monday, April 18, 2022 at 9:00 AM CST and through Friday, April 29, 2022 at 5:00 PM CST.  

Applicants will have the ability to create a profile and save their progress during the application period. To be considered for funding, applications must be completed and submitted along with all the documentation required for verification before 4:59:59 PM CST on Friday, April 29, 2022.

A virtual info session will be hosted to provide an overview of this program.

Wednesday, April 20th at 10:00AM.

Watch Info Session Recording Here

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

The grant amount will be 25% of the business’ gross verifiable income up to $35,000.

You will receive a submission confirmation email from noreply@bmisw.com. The grants team will contact you by phone or email if additional documentation or clarification is needed.

You may still submit the home utility bill. As long as the address on the utility bill matches the other documentation provided, that can serve as verification of business location.

Yes, we will calculate the number of full time equivalent (FTE) employees, including 1099 workers. You may be asked for a payroll/wage report for employees. 

Applications will be accepted online April 18th– April 29th. 

Yes, and this can include yourself. 

You will receive a confirmation email from noreply@bmisw.com.  Please check spam and trash in case it was blocked.

No, you may only submit one application for one business.

You can submit a copy of your business lease agreement.

Applicants will be notified by May 20th, 2022. 

Yes, applicants who are not selected for funding will be notified by USPS mail or email by mid May.

Who is LiftFund?

LiftFund is nonprofit community development financial institution with a 27-year track record of elevating underestimated and underserved communities across its 15-state footprint. Since 1994, LiftFund has provided over $415 million in opportunity funding and business education to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Who is the LiftFund Women’s Business Center?

Hosted by LiftFund and in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the San Antonio Women’s Business Center is dedicated to empowering women and minorities with education, tools and resources to launch, grow and scale their businesses. Learn more at womensbusinesscentersa.com.

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