As businesses continue to face challenges related to COVID-19, Mercado on Fifth is teaming up with IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union (IHMCVU) to administer some relief.
Eligible minority-owned businesses in the Illinois Quad Cities may apply for up to $1,000 for equipment-related purchases, such as repairs to existing infrastructure, technology upgrades and personal protective equipment (PPE,) a news release says.
Additionally, Spanish speakers may apply for a second grant that covers one free session with a Spanish-speaking accountant at Community CPA in Coralville/Iowa City, valued at $225 (including travel expenses).
Businesses may apply for both grants. A total of $14,000 is currently available for businesses in this program, funded by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago to help develop, grow and/or rebuild small minority-owned businesses.
“We hope these funds will empower businesses to operate more efficiently while protecting the safety of their employees and customers,” Mercado President Maria Ontiveros said. “We’re grateful for partners like IHMVCU and Community CPA that share our core values and are able to help us offer this assistance at such a critical time for minority-owned businesses.”
To qualify for funding (and to ensure businesses are well supported), applicants must have had at least one appointment with the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Western Illinois University – Quad Cities. Interested entrepreneurs and business owners may sign up to become a client on the SBDC’s website.
“As a designated Community Development Financial Institution, this program, as well as our partnership with Mercado, aligns with our commitment to filling gaps of service in the community,” said Rick Schloemer, community outreach coordinator, IHMVCU.
Since 2018, Mercado and the SBDC at WIU-QC have awarded more than $40,000 in minority business equipment grants. Mercado vendors and other entrepreneurs have used grants to purchase a wide range of materials, including a video camera, beauty salon supplies, an industrial sewing machine and kitchen supplies.
Equipment grant applications are available online (English and Spanish) and at IHMVCU in Rock Island, Moline, East Moline and Silvis. Spanish-only accounting services grant applications are also available online and at participating IHMVCU branches. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15. Learn more about Mercado at MercadoOnFifth.org.