Friday, November 26, 2021
Business

Founders First CDC to provide $100,000 in grants to diverse small businesses in the Inland Empire

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New program to create premium wage jobs and reward business resilience in underserved communities.

Founders First CDC (Founders First), a 501(c)3 non-profit that specializes in helping to grow diverse-led small businesses, launches today a new $100,000 grant to support minority entrepreneurs in the Inland Empire. The grant will be awarded to 30 small businesses as grant packages ranging from $1,500 to $10,000. Each grantee will also receive a full tuition scholarship to one of Founders First’s business accelerator programs. The grant program will be known as the Job Creators Quest Grant.

The Job Creators Quest Grant will help diverse small businesses continue to create premium wage jobs and act as a recognition of the existing investments these organizations have already made themselves to retain and grow their workforce during the pandemic. Funding for this grant program was facilitated in part by a $1 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, in conjunction with Founders First Capital Partners’ recent $9 million Series A financing. Additional partners include ADP, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Union Bank, Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Majority, and Inland Empire Black Chamber of Commerce.

“The labor market recovery continues to exhibit progress, and small businesses are playing a vital role in adding jobs in the service-providing sector,” says CT Mobley, Division Vice President, ADP. “ADP is proud to support initiatives like the Job Creators Quest Grant that help diverse businesses add premium wage jobs, invest in expansion and contribute to the economic growth of communities throughout Southern California.”

Grant recipients will be diverse-led businesses that generate $100,000 to $3 million in annual revenue and have up to 20 employees. The grants will encourage small businesses to grow their employee-base by creating new premium wage job positions. Diverse founders may be Black, Indigenous, a Person of Color, LGBTQIA+, Military Veteran, Female, or located in a low to moderate-income area.

“Founders First CDC continues to take a proactive approach in helping small businesses. More than ever, the small business community needs our help. The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce is delighted to be a partner in this initiative,” says Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“A significant part of our mission is social and economic equity and we see a connection with full time premium wage jobs and increasing equality. Social Economic Equity is important and a connection to move the needle is to create full time roles that provide livable wages.” said Shaylon Scott, Executive Director of Founders First CDC.

Funding for Founders First’s business accelerator programs is being supported in part by a $1.3 million philanthropic investment from JPMorgan Chase. The commitment will fund Founders First to operate three business acceleration programs for entrepreneurs of color across four regions: Southern California, Dallas, Chicagoland and New Jersey. 

“Structural barriers have created long standing inequities for underserved entrepreneurs across the country. The pandemic has only further exposed the challenges they’ve faced for generations,” said Sarah Bowles, Vice President and Program Officer, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “We’re proud to partner with Founders First. We share many of the same goals to help diverse-led small businesses grow and expand their opportunities.”  

Applications close November 30, 2021. To apply for the grant, visit: https://foundersfirstcdc.org/socal/

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Inland Empire Business Journal
The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering San Bernardino & Riverside Counties.