Multinational bank Wells Fargo has announced a $ 2.6 million small business recovery grant to help minority-owned companies in Southern California affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the fund is part of Wells Fargo's Open For Business Fund program. The program is part of a $ 400 million small business recovery effort to help entrepreneurs recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus.
Regional Small Business Development Corp. on the Pacific Coast received $ 2.1 million from the program, creating a People of Color Business Elevation Fund to support businesses by providing low-interest micro-catastrophe loans of up to $ 50,000 to eligible small businesses.
Genesis LA, a community development financial institution, received $ 550,000 from the program and will use the funds to provide flexible and forgiving loans to small and minority businesses in Los Angeles County.
Gregg Sherkin, senior vice president of social impact and sustainability at Wells Fargo, told the Daily News that LA companies are still struggling despite government intervention.
“LA has more than 1.3 million small businesses in the county, and many are diversity-owned,” he said. “We know these people are the most jobs, but tens of thousands of these businesses are at significant risk and many are in middle- to low-income communities. We want to do all we can to support them. "
Although lawmakers passed a second coronavirus stimulus fund that includes a second round of the paycheck protection program funds, small and minority businesses are still struggling as the pandemic nears its one year anniversary.
A survey of small businesses conducted in October 2020 found that 60% of minority-owned businesses will close without any kind of aid, whether federal or other, by April 2021.
The coronavirus pandemic is still growing and hurting Americans. Although two vaccines have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, they are still only given to the most vulnerable communities and medical workers across the country. In addition, the introduction of the vaccine was slow.