LISC WNY & GM Launch Scale Up WNY Business Grant Program to Accelerate Black-owned Business Growth

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and General Motors are announcing their continued collaboration to scale and advance Black-owned business growth in the Western New York region.

Through intensive listening conversations with business support organizations, government agencies and anchor institutions, LISC WNY and GM recognize that there are several business industries in our region that have a projected demand for their services yet need capital to scale up to meet that demand.

In 2021, through GM funding, LISC WNY provided $150,000 in grants to 15 Black-owned businesses in the construction, digital technology, and diversity, equity and inclusion consulting fields. The program was such a success that it will be continued into a second year. In addition to the eligible industries in round 1, LISC and GM have added one more eligible industry sector – childcare services and providers.

Knowing that racial disparities in business ownership and lending are stark in Western New York (Urban Institute, 2019) with Black majority census tracts receiving substantially less dollars than other racial groups, these grants are tailored to Black-owned businesses that are under-capitalized, but well positioned for growth. This fund is designated to support procurement opportunities in several high-growth industries and/or services:

• Construction
• Energy Infrastructure & Climate Response
• Broadband, Digitization & Web Services
• Medical Suppliers & Telehealth Services
• Manufacturing
• Childcare Services & Providers
• Diversity, Equity & Inclusion consultants

“General Motors is proud to continue our collaboration with LISC WNY as we enter the second year of the Scale Up WNY Business Grant Program,” said Terry Rhadigan, vice president of Corporate Giving at GM. “This innovative program will help Black-owned businesses in Western New York to build resilience and create inclusive, sustainable solutions to reach their goals.”

Funds will support innovative approaches to business growth, boosting competitiveness, and widening business service offerings and/or supplies for 10-15 businesses experiencing underinvestment. Grants range from $5,000 to $15,000.

“There is a groundswell of activity to prepare for federal dollars coming down the pipeline. One of our strategies at LISC is to increase contract readiness for Black and other BIPOC business owners. This grant will support Black businesses with capital and other resources, so they are ready for growth as state and federal opportunities arise,” says Tyra Johnson Hux, Deputy Director of LISC WNY who leads LISC’s local Inclusive Economic Development programs.

Initiatives supported by this grant include:

• Projects or initiatives that a) seed a growth initiative for your company, b) strengthen business retention, and/or c) allow for business expansion.
• Increase readiness for contract opportunities associated with the a) American Rescue Plan Act of 2021; b) New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act; c) Buffalo Sewer Authority Rain Check 2.0; d) the New York State East Side Initiative; or 5) similar contract opportunities providing a pathway to grow your business.
• Support for broadband expansion, e-commerce, & growth through digitization. Funds to a) analyze the feasibility of purchasing an existing company, b) plan for business ownership succession planning, or c) co-operative employee ownership models.
• Technical assistance aimed at growing the business and increasing access to high growth industries.

Examples of how this grant may be used include, but are not limited to are listed below:

• Contractors, vendors and professional service providers may solidify contract opportunities that would not have been available but for these funds and/or pursue joint ventures that allow the business to go after larger contracts.
• Existing businesses may explore processes that lead to new contract opportunities for Black contractors.
• Diversity, Equity and Inclusion consultants are able to pursue contracts with the support of these dollars, allowing them to grow their business income, audience reach, and/or services to meet the demand of organizations and corporations.

Though preference will be given to businesses within the Buffalo-Niagara subregion, businesses within the 8-county footprint of WNY are eligible to apply for this grant opportunity. Grant applications open on March 24, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. EST and close on April 20, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Applications can be found online at www.lisc.org/wny.

About LISC WNY

LISC WNY works regionally with partners to bring local neighborhood ideas to life; creating great places to live, work and raise a family for all. LISC takes a place-based and people-centered approach help individuals and small businesses currently isolated from economic opportunity better connect to opportunities necessary for them to successfully participate in their regions’ growth and prosperity. LISC WNY’s focus on neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, neighborhood business, and family income & wealth building goals aimsto better coordinate and concentrate workforce, small business, and real estate development in districts or neighborhoods that have traditionally seen a lack of investment. Learn more about LISC WNY at www.lisc.org/wny.

About General Motors

General Motors(NYSE:GM) is a global company focused on advancing an all-electric future that is inclusive and accessible to all. At the heart of this strategy is the Ultium battery platform, which powers everything from mass-market to high-performance vehicles. General Motors, its subsidiaries and its joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Baojun and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety and security services, can be found at www.gm.com.


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