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Flint awarded $1 million SBA Grant for economic development for Flint’s disadvantaged entrepreneurs

FLINT, Michigan — The city of Flint received a two-year, one million dollar grant funded by the Small Business Association (SBA) as part of the Community Navigator Pilot Program for targeted outreach to small businesses in underserved communities.

“The city of Flint is home to a variety of entrepreneurs that have chosen to grow their businesses in this amazing city,” said Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “This grant will allow us to continue the much needed work in the area of economic development.”

The goal of the Community Navigator Pilot Program is to connect with a variety of entrepreneurial industries by providing assistance during economic recovery that includes:

  • financial assistance and access to capital

  • contracting and procurement

  • marketing, operations, business development and exporting

  • industry-specific training

The Tier 3 – local level grant is for organizations to support a region, municipality, city, tribal or rural community with a total service population of less than 500,000 starting in December 2021.

“This grant will allow us to meet entrepreneurs where they are and help expand their resources for sustainable growth in Flint,” said City of Flint Economic Development Director Khalfani Stephens.

“We are grateful to be one of the 32 organizations in the nation given this wonderful opportunity,” Stephens added.

The Community Navigator Pilot Program will be led by the city of Flint in partnership with the following organizations:

100k Ideas to provide direct services to entrepreneurs referred through the community navigator program. This will include idea assessments, prototyping, brand and website development and CAD design.

Best Practices Consulting, LLC to provide direct services to entrepreneurs referred through the community navigator program. This will include enrolling disadvantaged entrepreneurs in workshops and cohort-based training programs.

Factory Two to provide direct services to entrepreneurs referred through the community navigator program. This will include 200 free checkout classes to program participants, as well as 36 full business memberships to participants who will benefit from more steady use of the makerspace. Factory Two will also assist with creation of promotional signs, banners and decals to generate publicity for the program.

Flint Development Center for outreach and community engagement to reach disadvantaged entrepreneurs in the community.

Friends of Berston Field House for outreach and community engagement to reach disadvantaged entrepreneurs in the community.

Latinx Technology and Community Center for outreach and community engagement to reach disadvantaged entrepreneurs in the community and to provide direct services to small businesses and entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on immigrants and people who speak English as a second language. LTCC will also provide translation services for the program.

The University of Michigan-Flint to provide direct services to entrepreneurs referred through the community navigator program. This will include technical assistance, coaching and business plan assistance, among other services.

XLerateHealth to provide direct services to entrepreneurs referred through the community navigator program. This will include providing four sessions of a pre-accelerator program during the grant term, serving at least 32 small businesses or entrepreneurs.

For more information, contact Samantha Fountain, Small Business Specialist with the city of Flint Economic Development Department at sfountain@cityofflint.com or (810) 237-2013.

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