Delivering Technical Assistance to Small Businesses In Need
By Brandee McHale, Head of Community Investing and Development and President of Citi Foundation March 04, 2021 09:00 AM
A year ago, everything changed. We have each been impacted personally and professionally in ways we never could have imagined. The global pandemic propelled us into crisis response quickly, yet the road back to stability and prosperity will take longer. While vaccines will protect our physical health, we are continuing to see the devastating economic impacts of COVID-19, especially on small businesses and minority entrepreneurs. Research from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that Black-owned businesses are closing at more than twice the rate of white-owned businesses, and experiencing declines in cash balances nine times as steep. Small businesses are the foundation of our communities and economy – and ensuring their equitable recovery is a critical piece of our collective recovery.
However, as the pandemic’s numerous repercussions continue to reverberate, we’ve found that capital alone is not enough. Entrepreneurs that have been able to keep their doors open require high-quality advice on how to navigate the rules of public support programs, adapt to COVID-19 public health restrictions, and develop new plans for financial stability.
According to the Small Business Administration’s November 2020 update, the majority of small business owners are in need of technical assistance programs to sustain and strengthen their businesses. These programs may include strategic and financial planning, legal services, technology solutions, and application assistance to help small businesses access the capital and resources they need.
That’s why the Citi Foundation launched today a new $25 million Request for Proposals (RFP) for non-profit organizations in the U.S. that are actively providing technical assistance to small businesses owned by people of color. Selected non-profits will receive up to $500,000 in unrestricted funding, which will allow them to expand their reach and serve more minority entrepreneurs in need.
Last year, we announced that Citi donated $25 million in initial net profits from its participation in the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to the Citi Foundation, which deployed the funds to support more than 30 Community Development Financial Institutions across the U.S. We’re proud to share that the launch of this new RFP was made possible by an additional donation of $25 million in PPP profits, enabling the Foundation to expand our work with community change agents addressing the continued social and economic impacts of the pandemic. This is one step we’re taking as part of our efforts to help close the racial wealth gap and ensure an equitable recovery for the communities we serve.
For more details on eligibility requirements and the application process, please visit https://www.citigroup.com/citi/foundation/programs/smallbusiness.htm. The deadline for applications is April 12, 2021 at 4 pm ET.