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small business

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Black Owned FinTech Firm To Disburse $2 Billion in COVID Relief Grants

Back in November of 2020, Lendistry, a Black owned Fintech firm was selected to administer $500 million in grants to small businesses, nonprofits, and cultural institutions impacted by the pandemic across California.

After successfully disbursing the grants on behalf of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, Lendistry has now been tasked with administering quadruple that amount, to the tune of $2.075 billion.

Lendistry will provide grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for qualified small businesses and nonprofits, with $50 million allocated specifically for California nonprofit cultural institutions.

“The demand for funding has been immense, with small businesses and nonprofits reaching out for relief and support as they endure through this pandemic,” said Everett K. Sands, Lendistry’s founder and CEO. “During the initial funding rounds, we successfully connected small businesses and nonprofits with grants across all 58 counties in California, and we’re eager to use our platform to swiftly deploy this critical, additional funding so business owners can keep their lights on and serve their communities during this trying time.”

black owned fintech firm
Everett Sands, CEO of Lendistry

The latest round of funding was recently approved by the California legislature, and the relief program is being administered by California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA), part of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz).

According to a recent press release, since the launch of the initial funding rounds more than 40,000 grantees have been selected to move forward, more than 350,000 grant applications have been successfully submitted, and 87% of selected applicants represent underserved and disadvantaged small businesses.

Demand for grant funding has far surpassed supply, and this latest financing for small business relief presents an additional and necessary opportunity for eligible applicants still seeking support.

The new funding will be distributed in four additional rounds, beyond the initial funding rounds Lendistry has already completed, in the following order:

New Funding Rounds:

Round 3 (waitlisted from Rounds 1 and 2): Friday, March 5th through Thursday, March 11th, 2021

    • Eligible applicants: This is a closed round and only available to eligible applicants who were waitlisted in Rounds 1 and 2 – only existing applicants will be selected. If you were waitlisted, you do not need to reapply. New applications will not be accepted in this round.
    • Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000
    • Details: This is a closed funding round; no new applications will be accepted

Round 4 (nonprofit cultural institutions only): Tuesday, March 16th through Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

      • Eligible applicants: Only nonprofit cultural institutions with any revenue size that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
      • Eligible grant award: $5,000 – $25,000
      • Details: Eligible nonprofit cultural institutions must complete a new application even if they already applied in Rounds 1 and 2; grants will only be available to nonprofits that did not receive funding in Rounds 1, 2 or 3; grants will be prioritized based on the documented percentage revenue declines based on a reporting period comparing Q2 and Q3 of 2020 versus Q2 and Q3 of 2019

Round 5: Thursday, March 25th through Wednesday, March 31st

    • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, or 3 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
    • Eligible grant award: $5,000 – $25,000
    • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, & 3 do not need to reapply as they will be automatically moved into Round 5. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com

Round 6: Date to be announced soon

    • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and/or nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria found at CAReliefGrant.com
    • Eligible grant award: $5,000 – $25,000
    • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, 3 & 5 do not need to re-apply and will be automatically moved into Round 6. New applicants will need to apply at CAReliefGrant.com

Lendistry is again providing application assistance through its statewide network of partners, consisting of fellow mission-based financial institutions, small business advisory and technical assistance providers, and State-supported small business centers to facilitate the application process in multiple languages and formats.

Grants will not be issued on a first-come, first-served basis and will be awarded after the close of each application round.

For funding rounds focused on small businesses and nonprofits (3, 5, & 6) the funding for California small businesses and nonprofits will again prioritize regions and industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, disadvantaged communities, and underserved small business groups.

For application assistance and more information on application deadlines, grant requirements, and eligibility, please visit CAReliefGrant.com.

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Using Public Relations to Promote Your Business

Using public relations to promote your business can help ensure its success. It’s important to promote your business using the right tools and resources. Over half of a million businesses are created every year. What sets yours apart from the others? How will you effectively reach your audience? Do you know who your audience is? Hiring a publicist to develop a robust PR plan can help you achieve the overall goal you have in mind.

Small-Business-Public-Relations

What steps will a publicist take to facilitate great results for my business?

Your publicist will be your guide throughout the journey of starting and growing your business. He or she will have an in-depth conversation with you to learn about your business. You both will discuss short and long term goals, tone of messaging, target audience, target media, strategies and tactics to use, timelines, measurements to determine success, and more.

The publicist, for example, PR agencies philippines that you select should be able to do more than just write content to promote your business. They should be able to pull together all of the necessary tools of public relations to promote your business. As your guide, that person will consult with you about how to leverage social media to obtain results. Not all social media sites are created equal. Knowing which one(s) to use for your business will enhance your brand identity.

public relations to promote your business

Together, you and your publicist will decide what type of content to write, how often, and where it will be published. Should your publicist interview customers for success stories? Do you have a product line that requires detailed explanation in a bylined article? Is a press release recommended for certain announcements? Your publicist will be your content and lead generator. The content he/she creates will generate leads for your business, positioning your brand in the forefront of the industry it’s in.

public relations to promote your business

Managing media inquiries and crisis communication will also be incorporated into your PR plan. As the saying goes, “hope for the best but plan for the worst.” Anticipating a crisis and planning how to manage the aftermath will ensure that you’re best prepared to handle what may come your way. The crisis in Flint, Michigan, was forecasted and warned by Governor Rick Snyder’s communication director, Ari Adler.

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Reported by the Detroit Free Press, Adler sent an article to the governor’s office titled “Who wants to drink Flint’s water?” It focused on the impact the water quality had on residents and Adler stated, “This is a public relations crisis — because of a real or perceived problem is irrelevant — waiting to explode nationally.” Unfortunately, Adler was right. What’s even more unfortunate is that his PR advice fell on deaf ears.

public relations to promote your business

Why should I hire a publicist? I can do the work myself.

If you’re asking yourself this question, it’s important to consider your strengths. You wouldn’t ask your plumber to decorate your home. He or she may be great at unclogging your drains; however, that’s their strength. Ask yourself, “What is mine?” The ability to create compelling content isn’t a strong suit of many. It’s a skill honed year after year, draft after draft and publication after publication. Your publicist will know how to tell your story. He or she should have experience writing for different industries and has learned how to use words to pull people in. It’s an innate trait—one many business leaders have recognized, incorporating content marketing into their business strategies.

public relations to promote your business

How do I find a qualified publicist?

Inquire with other entrepreneurs you may know—word of mouth references are some of the best. Also, search the Upwork website for candidates. Copyright laws may prohibit a publicist from publishing work they’ve done for other companies, so don’t be alarmed if their work isn’t posted. Candidates should be able to provide you with links of publications they’ve done and can email you PDF’s of writing samples. Ask for references and check their LinkedIn profile. Get to know your future publicist as you two will likely develop a long withstanding professional relationship. It should be a good fit for the both of you.

Hopefully this serves as a helpful guide in using public relations to promote your business and strengthen your brand.

Contributed by Danielle Tyler – Publicist and Communications Professional

Contact Danielle for more information about creating a PR plan for your business.

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5 Black Owned Subscription Box Businesses

The subscription box industry has become extremely popular in the last few years. Many businesses, large and small, are getting in on the action. Some of these are Black Owned Subscription Box Businesses that offer great products and services. Check them out!

Black Owned Subscription Box Businesses

Ujamaa Box founder, Ebony Costain comes from a family of entrepreneurs, so it’s no surprise that she has created her own venture, Ujamaa Box.
This box contains goodies from black businesses across multiple industries e.g. beauty, food, health, fashion and more. The items included in the Ujamaa Box are meant to help the businesses increase brand awareness and encourage repeat purchases once you realize how dope the products are!
I met Ebony at their one year anniversary at MoCADA and I could tell how passionate she is about the issues of Black business ownership and supporting black owned businesses. Ujamaa Box also provides advisory services for aspiring entrepreneurs. Monthly subscriptions are $25.

Dapper Black Box was founded by Aaron J. Barnes and is the only Black-owned subscription box company I know of that focuses on products for strictly for men.

Currently, they offer quality accessories and toiletries in three different boxes, The Jennings Box, The Carver Box, and The Leidesdorff Box.

Each of their boxes will be named after a different black inventor or businessman. (The Douglass is on the way for December) Dapper Black Box says “Our subscribers share our mission to encourage investment into Black businesses.” We definitely support this message. Monthly subscriptions are $28 and the shipping goes for the low, low price of…FREE! If you are thinking of starting an online subscription business, you should find an ebay courier that provides speedy postage at a price you are willing to pay! eBay can be a great place to start marketing subscription packages because you don’t need to pay too much to start selling there!

black owned subscription box

black owned subscription box

Bevel, the brain child of Tristan Walker, is the flagship brand of Walker & Company and a shaving system created with the intention of preventing and addressing the issues of skin irritation like razor bumps.

They offer extensive grooming and shaving tips on their website as well as a directory of “Bevel Approved Barbershops” in 8 major U.S. cities. Your first Bevel shipment includes a Bevel Razor and Bevel Badger Brush plus 3-month supply of priming oil, shave cream, restoring balm and 60 Blades. Once you subscribe, a 3-Month Supply is shipped every 3 months.

The current holiday offer is $59.85 paid in 3 installments of $19.95. In September, Tristan announced that the company had raised $24 million and will soon be available in Target stores in the United States and on Target.com.

black owned subscription box

black owned subscription box

Curl Kit was created by Heather Cummings to help women find the right products for their natural “hurr”. The kit offers 6-9 samples (and full size products) of natural hair and beauty products.

It also comes with a zine, Curl Life that contains information and tips on all things hair and beauty. Take a look at one of the many “Unboxing videos” available on YouTube where users (some paid) give their reviews.

Definitely do your own research to find out if this is an investment you want to make. Subscriptions plans available are $20/month, $60 per three months or $120 per six months (shipping not included). You can also get 10% off just for liking them on Facebook.

black owned subscription box

black owned subscription box

WeAreOnyx started off as an online platform dedicated to teaching black women how to manage their natural hair. It has now morphed into all things beauty, hair, health and entrepreneurship for black women.

Their subscription box, ONYXBOX, offers four to six hair, makeup and skin products every month. The company founders, Delali Kpodzo & Myriam Bocobza came up with the idea in 2012 after an event involving a hairstylist, flat tire and cancelled hair appointment left Delali no other options but to figure out how to get her hair ready for work on her own.

Check out another “Unboxing video“, and of course do your research. Monthly subscription is $25 and shipping is Free99 aka music to our ears.

black owned subscription box black owned subscription box

So, there you have it! 5 dope businesses that are sure to introduce you to products you will enjoy. If you know of any that I missed, be sure to leave a comment.

Also, if you’re thinking about starting your own subscription business or would like to add a subscription service to your current business, I’ve got something for ya! It’s a book called The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry. That should get you going and steer you in the right direction, newbie or not.

The Busy African