Small businesses throughout Arkansas continue to struggle due to COVID-19. Federal and state assistance has been made available, but the need is often greater than the help available.
One Arkansas organization has stepped in to help women-owned businesses in the state.
Applications for a second round of grants for women-owned small businesses will be open on Monday, May 18. The Women’s Foundation of Arkansas is making six $5,000 grants available to women-owned small businesses in Arkansas. The applications open at 8 a.m. on Monday.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to support women owned small businesses across our state,” Anna Beth Gorman, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, said in a statement. “It would not be possible without support from the Arvest Bank Foundation and Simmons Bank who believe in the value of our work and recognize small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities.”
To apply for the grants, businesses must be fully owned by women, employ 50 employees or less, and must be operating with all required permits and be fully paid on taxes. According to a WFA news release, the applications will be prioritized based on counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19 and high rates of women-owned business ownership. In addition, priority will be given to industries that were mandated to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this round of funding, seventy-five percent of the grants will be distributed to businesses owned at least 51 percent by a woman of color.
The WFA launched the first round of funding in early April, looking for 10 businesses to fund. Businesses that applied in the first round and were not funded will be automatically considered in the second round.
“We see this as a really critical time to support the most vulnerable types of small businesses: women, particularly women of color, businesses. We hope that this fund will help women but also serve as an education tool for other thought partners out there and agencies that we can do more and we should do more to support women and minority owned businesses,” Gorman told Arkansas Money & Politics.
The second round of grants was made possible by the Arvest Bank Foundation, Simmons Bank’s Community Development department and private donors.
Applications will be accepted starting at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 18, and the applications will close on Tuesday, May 19 at 5 p.m. The grant recipients will be announced May 26.