Staying financially healthy: Grants target businesses owned by women, vets and minorities

Small businesses have been most at risk during the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. Keeping them healthy, especially those considered underserved, is the idea behind a grant program backed by the Duke Energy Foundation.

The foundation is working with the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and the Northern Kentucky Chamber to provide financial assistance to local women-, veteran- and minority-owned small businesses impacted by the coronavirus.

Each chamber will receive $75,000 from Duke Energy to be distributed to qualified small businesses.

“We’ve continued to hear from our small business customers that they are having the hardest time trying to get funding to not only stay afloat, but to keep their doors open,” says Amy Spiller, president of Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky. “This is a way for us to have a direct impact on a critical customer segment.”

Both chambers will work with members to identify opportunities and direct grants to local small businesses. The relief grants can be up to $10,000 for a Duke Energy small business customer.

The chambers will market the grant dollars to both members and non-members and solicit businesses with less than $1 million in annual revenues.

Leisa Mulcahy, managing director of GROW NKY and vice president of workforce at the NKY Chamber, says the grant will work to help an often underserved segment of the business community at a time when assistance is needed the most.

“It is important we make sure we are providing resources for all the businesses we support – especially those that run the risk of being underserved,” Mulcahy says.

Qualified costs for relief fund recipients include payroll support, paid sick or medical leave, insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and any other debt obligations. Recipients may also use funds toward legal or technical assistance for small businesses in navigating new federal and state programs.

For information on how to apply for funds through the Northern Kentucky Chamber, click here.


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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.