Nonprofits partner to offer grants to women-owned businesses

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Ana Jose. Courtesy Michigan Women Forward

Two Muskegon organizations are working together to support women-owned businesses. 

Michigan Women Forward (MWF) and the Community Foundation for Muskegon County (CFMC) recently announced a partnership to offer grants to local entrepreneurs through a new Business Equality Initiative (BEI) Fund. 

The BEI Fund will award grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to small businesses owners who are unable to access capital and funding support through traditional loans. 

“As the grant administrator for the BEI Fund, Michigan Women Forward is responsible for more than just providing financial support for the entrepreneurs,” said Ana Jose, MWF business development director in West Michigan. “Our team will step up to offer grantees the business acumen and technical assistance they need to succeed and grow. Together, we can level the playing field for Muskegon County entrepreneurs.”

Grants will be made available to applicants who are small business owners, particularly women of color, who are also Muskegon County residents, have been registered as a business and operational for one to three years, willing to utilize business resources available to them in Muskegon County for education and mentoring and also are low- to moderate-income business owners. 

The BEI Fund donor committee appointed MWF to administer the grants and provide technical assistance to the grantees, including facilitating counseling, mentoring and technical support. 

Grantees must use funding for expenses critical to the operation of a small business. The payment of rent or utilities, marketing materials, website development or maintenance, permits, licensing, and the purchase of machinery and equipment are some of the recommended grant uses. 

Grant award evaluations and progress reports will be conducted via in-person meeting, phone call or email through MWF. Applications are available through June 30 and can be found here.

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