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Available Grants and Programs for Small Businesses

Small business owners understand that success comes after investing time, money, and energy. Various grants and programs are available to help small businesses find success quicker.

Small businesses that have a great idea or noble intention stand a chance at being awarded a grant or selected for a program. Ready to find out more? Blacme shares the following insight to help you determine the best grant or program for your venture.

Choosing an LLC as a Business Structure

When starting a business, entrepreneurs are given a choice of business structures to select. Each option has its own benefits and pitfalls, but a limited liability company (LLC) is one of the most popular choices for small businesses.

As a legal entity, LLCs are easy and affordable to both form and operate. There are several additional benefits to choosing an LLC as your business structure. Here are a few of them;

●      Limited personal liability to protect personal assets

●      Less paperwork and a simple administrative process

●      Tax advantages such as pass-through taxation

●      Ownership flexibility

●      Management flexibility

●      Flexible profit-sharing options

When registering a business, it’s important to meet all legal requirements. These legal requirements can differ from state to state.

Hire a Formation Service

Each state has different legal requirements for starting a business and for forming an LLC. If you want your business to be legally valid, then it needs to meet each of these requirements. Researching the process by yourself can be intimidating, and that’s where a formation service can help.

Rather than hire an expensive lawyer to help dot the i’s and cross the t’s, a formation service offers affordable guidance. A formation service provides independent support for simple, fast, and cost-effective company registration.

Grants and Programs for Small Businesses

Regardless of the industry that you aspire to impact, there will most likely be a grant or program to help. Here are three options to kickstart your research.

Kuvio Impact Grant

Kuvio Creative is a business dedicated to helping other businesses. As a full-service web design and development company, Kuvio Creative has access to valuable digital skills. The organization strives to make a difference by providing entrepreneurs with small business grants and free services.

Applications for the Kuvio Impact Grant open three times a year. The grant, which offers up to 100 hours of free services, is reserved for nonprofits, women-owned businesses, minority-owned businesses, and veteran-owned organizations.

Find out more about the Kuvio Impact Grant here.

4.0 Schools Fellowships

Businesses that strive to improve education in the United States could be eligible for a fellowship from 4.0 Schools. Whether it’s a school, technology tool, or educational service, 4.0 Schools want to hear about it.

The fellowships offer small grants of $600 for business owners who want to put an early-stage idea into action. Larger grants to the value of $10,000 are available for more established businesses in the industry.

4.0 Schools are inspired to support businesses that work to make education more equitable and responsive to real needs.

Find out more about 4.0 Schools Fellowships and the application process here.

Microenterprise Development Program

The Microenterprise Development Program reserves grants for refugees that want to start a business. The grant is also available to support refugees with established businesses.

The grant, valued at $15,000, is offered by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Refugees who are not yet US citizens may participate in the grant program and benefit from the opportunity to grow a profitable business.

Find out more about the Microenterprise Development Program and the application requirements here.

Written by Jim McKinley, www.moneywithjim.org

4 Ways Small Spending Cash Can Make a Big Difference for Social Justice

Money makes an impact. We see this every day when we hear about the millions spent on political campaigns or large donations to foundations and causes. But our pocket change makes an impact, too. Anyone can make a difference by choosing which companies—big or small—we choose to buy products and services from. Even people on a tight budget can make a big impact when they spend their money at companies that emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here’s how.

Shop local

The best way you can make sure your dollars have a direct impact in your community is to shop at minority-owned businesses in your community. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out apps that essentially serve as a directory for people looking to intentionally shop with locally-owned businesses that are either owned by minorities or support minority and social justice causes. If you are concerned that shopping local comes with higher price tags, look for small businesses in your community who give discounts to veterans, teachers, seniors, and other groups.

Research big box brands

While some companies try to stay neutral, there are many national and international companies stepping forward to do their part to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. For example, Target recently committed $10 million toward the National Urban League and the African American Leadership Forum. Gap Brands, which includes Athleta and Old Navy, pledged a quarter of a million in donations to the NAACP and Embrace Race. For families on tighter budgets, you don’t even have to worry about costs when you use an Old Navy coupon and similar discount offers.

Meal Delivery Services and Food Brands

Millions of American homes receive their dinner in the mail. Meal delivery kits are much more commonly used in today’s busy, modern households. Many people save hundreds each month on food costs and food waste, so if you are already interested in exploring meal delivery services, be sure to check out some that support anti-racism and social justice movements, like Purple Carrot and Thrive Market.

The subscription service most synonymous with home delivery, Blue Apron, gave all of its employees a paid holiday for the U.S. election, removing a huge barrier for some voters to cast their ballots. Many budget-friendly fast-food chains have also committed their support to diversity, equity, and inclusion, like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Starbucks.

Support Returning Citizens, Incarcerated Men and Women, and Their Families

Incarceration is a world-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion issue, but especially in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, black males account for 34 percent of the total male prison population and Hispanic males 24 percent. When you support companies committed to providing jobs and rehabilitation services for formerly incarcerated individuals and their loved ones, you are supporting a path to equality for all.

And this doesn’t just impact people of specific ethnic backgrounds. Did you know what caucasian females comprised 47 percent of the prison population? Spending your dollars at CVS, American Airlines, and Walmart, or donating your gently used clothing and household goods to charities like the Salvation Army, helps men and women from all races find a path forward after incarceration.

With so many big problems facing our country and the world today, trying to help and make a difference can feel very intimidating. Many of us are worried we will get it wrong—say the wrong word or unintentionally act insensitively. But just remember, you can create change no matter how much money you have. All you really need is your heart.

Written by Jim McKinley, www.moneywithjim.org

Get Your Knees Off Our Necks

Over my lifetime there have been several idioms, expressions, and adages that once spoken and repeated often conjure up certain circumstances and historical contexts.

For example, if I were to say “Keep the Faith, Baby” one would think of Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. and his fight against discrimination in the supposedly free North. Or, how about an adage that addresses our lack of the pursuit of knowledge that suggests that “If you want to keep something secret from black folks, put it between the covers of a book.”  And finally, how about Fannie Lou Hammer, who my father, Horace Sheffield, Jr., was asked by President Lyndon B. Johnson not to seat at the Democratic National Convention. Hammer is known for saying, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

Of all of these memorial quips, “none” I believe will go down in history as the most powerful, and applicable as Rev. Alfred Sharpton’s statement “Get Your Knee Off Our Neck” made during George Floyd’s funeral.

I was around when most of the aforementioned things were spoken, and was there when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. exclaimed “I Have A Dream”, and I was moved incomparably by each in a different way. However, I was never so moved as I was when I heard my friend of nearly 50 years retort, “Get Your Knee Off Our Neck!” That powerful alliteration, iteration, and capsulation of words is what we said to our slave masters. It’s what we said to the progenitors of Jim Crow, and it’s what our protest is for. It was being said as to those who made us count bubbles in a bar of soap to be able to register to vote. And it is now what Rev. Sharpton is suggesting we must now say to every economic, social, and political source and force that has its knees on our individual and collective necks.

Donald Trump, “get you knee off our necks.” Police brutality, please “get your knee off our necks.” Economic exploitation and exclusion, “get your knee off our necks.” And apathy, lack of voting, and self-hatred, “get your knees off our necks.”

Written by Rev. Horace L. Sheffield, III, MA, MP
Horace Sheffield, III is a longtime civil rights activist, pastor, and media personality. He is an on-air radio personality for 910 AM/WFDF, as the host of On The Line and an on-air television personality for WADL, as the host of Real Talk Weekly. Sheffield is also the pastor of New Destiny Christian Fellowship and executive director of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations, both in Detroit.

How Blacme is adapting to Covid-19

We’ve temporarily removed certain items from our offering due to production closures. However, Blacme is still operating and we’re continuing to accept orders. The entire industry is grappling with challenges and we’re seeing delays in our supply chain, including distributors and shipping carriers. Fulfillment and shipping will take longer than usual but your order will reach you! Our fulfillment times are approximately 4 weeks plus shipping time. Your support means a lot to us, especially during this time. Stay safe and take care of yourselves.

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