SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program Helps Nrthwoods Small Businesses Access ResourcesToni VanDoren
Previous rounds of economic relief last year helped millions of small businesses stay afloat and keep employees on the payroll, yet too many minority-owned businesses and mom and pops found themselves at the end of the line, while larger, well-connected businesses accessed programs right away. To better reach these small businesses, SBA is launching the Community Navigator Pilot Program that will strengthen outreach to underserved businesses by partnering with organizations with deep roots in their communities.
The Community Navigator Pilot Program is an American Rescue Plan initiative designed to reduce barriers that underrepresented and underserved entrepreneurs often face in accessing the programs they need to recover, grow, or start their businesses. The program will provide a total of $100 million in funding to 51 organizations that will work with hundreds of local community groups to improve access to SBA and government resources for America’s entrepreneurs. The selected projects will cover diverse communities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Grantees will serve as “hubs” — centralized, lead organizations, which will incorporate “spokes,” organizations that have built trust in their local communities and will be the ‘boots on the ground’ Nicolet College and The GRID were awarded one of these grants to serve as the hub for area spoke organizations:
- Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council
- Lac du Flambeau Business Development Corp.
- Grow North Regional Economic Development
- Florence County Economic Development
- Langlade County Development
- Oneida County Development
- Vilas County Economic Development
These spokes will connect small businesses to critical resources and assistance, including:
- financial assistance and access to capital
- contracting and procurement
- marketing, operations, business development, and exporting
- industry-specific training
To learn more, see the Community Navigator Pilot Program grantee announcement and FAQs about the Community Navigator Pilot Program.