Black Business Association of Memphis to distribute COVID-19 grants


A small injection of cash is available for hundreds of Memphis personal services businesses resisting the pandemic.

The Memphis Black Business Association will distribute grants of $ 300 to entrepreneurs in a range of professions: barbers, cosmetologists, beauticians, hair braiders, makeup artists, massage therapists, nail technicians, personal trainers.

“Our goal is to get this money out to people as quickly as possible,” said Mark Yates, CEO of BBA.

Leaders of the Black Business Association of Memphis include Mark Yates (top) and Roby Williams (bottom) as the city searches for ways to stabilize entrepreneurs hit hard by the pandemic.

BBA will be accepting applications online starting October 5 and will market the program throughout the city and during its annual Beauty Week, a teleconference scheduled for October 11.

The money will come from a federal grant to the city of Memphis under the CARES Act, a federal stimulus package aimed at boosting the economy.

City officials contacted the BBA and provided $ 1.2 million for individual grants. The $ 300 limit and eligible occupations are determined by federal law, Yates said.

“We will continue to provide funds until the end of the year until they are extinguished,” Yates said.

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BBA staff members will verify the eligibility of applicants. Eligible applicants may be open or closed for business if they have a current professional license. Yates said grants are expected to start reaching businesses by October 19.

“Hopefully this money can help you pivot and get back to business if you were to close,” Yates said.

Grants can be spent on rent, business expenses, and other costs such as training.

“The pandemic has been difficult for many small businesses,” Yates said. “A lot of them have gone bankrupt. We think it can help.”

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