SBA Awards $5.5 Million in PRIME Grants to Help Emerging Micro-Entrepreneurs Gain Access to Capital

SAN FRANCISCO – Thirty organizations across the United States that assist disadvantaged entrepreneurs are set to receive nearly $5.5 million in grants from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME).  These nonprofit organizations help low-income entrepreneurs gain access to capital to establish and expand their small businesses.

This year, the SBA placed emphasis on projects that will offer training and technical assistance to strengthen economically disadvantaged businesses, particularly those that service entrepreneurs in Opportunity Zones, rural areas, and HUBZones.

“Capital is king for any aspiring or current entrepreneur, and the SBA is committed to providing critical funding to small businesses,” SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza said. “Retaining jobs – and creating new ones – is essential this year, and we are proud to award this year’s PRIME grants to assist entrepreneurs with the necessary training to create thriving sustainable businesses.”

This year’s 30 recipients come from 19 states and the District of Columbia, and 23 of the recipients are in Opportunity Zones. In Northern California, the two grant recipients are Main Street Launch and California FarmLink.

Established in 1979 in Oakland, Main Street Launch is a 501(c)(3) Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and SBA Micro and Community Advantage Lender. Its mission is to create economic opportunity by empowering underserved entrepreneurs through lending and technical assistance in Oakland, San Francisco, Stockton, and for veterans across California. Main Street Launch provides capital, education, and relationships to grow businesses, create jobs, and stimulate economic development in LMI communities.

Main Street Launch plans to use it's Prime grant to provide 1:1 technical assistance (TA) and workshops on business readiness and access to capital, supplier diversity procurement, succession planning and business recovery and financial sustainability due to COVID-19 for businesses in Stockton, CA. Main Street Launch will also conduct a 6-month Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, and will provide TA remotely and online.

 

California FarmLink provides small, independent farmers and ranchers with the land and financing they need for a sustainable future. As a CDFI and approved SBA Micro and Community Advantage lender, FarmLink serves low-income, disadvantaged beginning and small farmers throughout rural California who lack access to financing due to limited business management experience, traditional collateral and credit history, and cultural and language barriers.

California Farmlink’s Prime project intends to strengthen a partnership with El Pájaro Community Development Corporation and the Agriculture and Land Based Training Association to enhance opportunities for disadvantaged entrepreneurs to scale new rural businesses. It will help build equity through access to appropriate financing, targeting the participation of 310 disadvantaged rural entrepreneurs across 8 counties in low income areas of the Central Valley and Central Coast of California. Training and technical assistance is also tailored to serve emerging Latino small farmers and low-income and very low-income microentrepreneurs.

 

Nationally, the PRIME grants range from $75,000 to $250,000, and typically require at least 50 percent in matching funds or in-kind contributions. In total, over 120 organizations applied for PRIME grants for 2020.  

PRIME was created by Congress as part of the Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs Act of 1999. Grant funds will be made available on September 30, 2020, and the project period for each grant is one year.

For more information on the SBA’s PRIME grants and a list of this year’s grantees, go online to www.sba.gov/content/prime-grantees.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.