Grant program to strengthen outreach to businesses in underserved communities enacted through the American Rescue Plan
Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the extended application date for its new Community Navigator Pilot Program. SBA will now accept proposal submissions through July 23, 2021, and anticipates making award decisions by September 2021. This new initiative, established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will leverage a community navigator approach to reach our nation’s smallest businesses, with a priority focus on those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans. The Biden-Harris Administration has made delivering equitable relief to hard-hit small businesses a top priority and will continue to take steps to ensure equitable distribution of relief.
“As SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman reinforces, we have to meet small businesses where they are. This program is designed to empower a hyperlocal approach through a national network of community navigators who are on the ground truly connecting, empathizing, and tailoring solutions for our small businesses during critical recovery,” said SBA Associate Administrator for the Office for Entrepreneurial Development Mark Madrid. “This bold effort underscores our agency’s commitment to advance equity and bolster an ecosystem in which small businesses continue to apply for the diverse suite of SBA resources, services, and/or programs throughout various stages of business recovery, growth, scale, and/or maturity.”
The Community Navigator Program will have a significant impact in revitalizing small businesses through a Hub and Spoke “Navigator” featuring a lead “Hub” – at the center of a network of “Spoke” organizations that deploy trusted community advocates to work with small businesses during recovery. These networks leverage the business development expertise of the central hub organization and the community credibility of spoke organizations to better connect critical resources with small businesses, with the priority focus on those owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
“Inclusion and access continue to be among the most important priorities for aiding small business through recovery. Our underrepresented, women and Native American businesses need our support now to grow and strengthen our economy. Community Navigators is about connecting and rebuilding community to ensure more American small businesses survive and thrive,” said SBA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership Natalie Madeira Cofield.
Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period. Applicants have until July 23, 2021 to submit their applications at grants.gov, Funding Opportunity Number CNP-2021-01. Performance periods are projected to commence in September 2021. Those eligible to apply must meet and demonstrate abilities to support requirements of this funding opportunity.
For more information on the Community Navigators Initiative, please visit www.sba.gov/navigators.