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 in 2022. Last year, a total of $500,000 was awarded. The 2023 program will offer an additional $500,000 to small business owners.

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 eligible 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 2023 round of applications will open
Monday, February 6th at 9:00 am and closes Wednesday, February 22nd at 5:00 pm CT.
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 two allocations over a six-month period contingent on completion of the following: 

  • Six (6) financial consultations with LiftFund advisors
  • Six (6) workshops:
    • One (1) workshop on Values Based Leadership
    • Five (5) additional workshops based on your business’s goals

Additionally, two (2) follow up consultations are required after the grant is fully funded. Participants will also be offered one (1) mentorship session with an industry professional.

Grant funding will be disbursed upon completion of technical assistance requirements. All participants will be required to sign an agreement pledging to attend all course components prior to the start of the program.  

  • Values Based Leadership & 2 workshops + 2 individual consultations by end of May 2023– 1/3 of grant funding
  • 2 additional workshops + 2 individual additional consultations by end of July 2023– 1/3 of grant funding
  • 2 additional workshops + 2 individual additional consultations by end of September 2023 – 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
  • Time in Business – For profit businesses that have been operating prior to 1/1/2020
  • Revenue –2021 gross sales between $30,000 and $1 million
  • 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. 

  • 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.
  • Businesses who participated in the program in 2022 are not eligible to apply again
  • Tax Return – 2021 filed business return 
  • Verification of current income – Most recent business bank statement
  • 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 (Q4 2022 Form 941 or payroll report)

Additional documents may be requested for verification purposes.

Grant applications will be assessed and scored based on the responses provided for the four categories below. The qualified applications with the highest scores will be approved. The maximum application score is 12:
Category  Max Points
Business located in a qualified census tract  
Applied for the program in 2022 but was not selected   1
Number of full-time employees   5
Use of Funds 5

Application Period: February 6 @ 9 am – February 22 @ 5 pm.

The Grow Now! Financial Equity Fund will accept applications online beginning Monday, February 6, 2023 at 9:00 AM CST through Wednesday, February 22, 2023 at 5:00 PM CST.  

Applicants will be able to save their progress during the application period. Applications must be completed and submitted along with all the documentation required for verification before 4:59:59 PM CST on Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

Applicants will receive a confirmation email when they submit the application.

Application review: February 23 – March 17, 2023

The grants team will reach out to applicants by phone or email if additional documents or clarification is needed. If additional documents are requested, applicants will have 3 business days to submit. 

Award notifications: March 24, 2023

Eligible applicants with the highest scores based on the methodology above will be notified earlier within the award notification time frame, followed by lower scoring applicants. All applicants, even if ineligible or not selected for funding, will be notified by April 8.

Selected recipients will be notified of approval and prompted to accept the grant via an emailed DocuSign form.

Course completion and funding disbursement: April 12 – September 30, 2023

Workshops and consultations will be held between April and September. Grant disbursement will be processed according to the schedule listed in the Grant Awards section of the website.

INFO SESSION WEBINAR

FEB

15

WED

Virtual Info Session @ 2:30 PM

Application Assistance

FEB

8

WED

9:30 AM - 5 PM in person app assistance.

Visit the wbc at 600 soledad st, sa, tx 78205

FEB

8

WED

9-10 am

Virtual drop in session for quick application questions

FEB

8

WED

3-4 pm

Virtual drop in session for quick application questions

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.

No, we will only consider the number of full time employees.

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 March 24, 2023

Yes, applicants who are not selected for funding will be notified by email in late March.

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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