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Backing Small Business grant program application opens March 14


Witching Hour Provisions in Hopkinton was one of 350 recipients of a Maine Street America Backing Small Business grant in 2023. This year’s application period opens March 14. Photo/Witching Hour Provisions Facebook

CHICAGO – Small businesses that are economically vulnerable and under-resourced, but have community reach, may apply for a Backing Small Business grant beginning March 14.

The $10,000 grants are for projects that grow or improve eligible businesses by building community, supporting their economic viability, or bolstering meaningful change. The Main Street America program aims to award more than $5.7 million to 500 small-business owners in this round of funding, including 25 $30,000 enhancement grants. The program is supported by American Express.

Among the 350 2023 grant winners was Witching Hour Provisions in Hopinkton.

“A small business with community reach is involved in and critical to the surrounding community or serves a cultural- or ability-specific need,” the grant website says. “These businesses are often long-standing or legacy businesses that provide continuity and a sense of identity to a neighborhood or specific cultural group. Businesses with community reach have also been intentional about developing core values and a business model that supports their communities or addresses an acute community need. For example, a business that regularly hosts free concerts featuring local artists, or a shop that provides goods or services that uniquely serve a customer base in the community.”

Applications will be accepted from 10 a.m. March 15 through 1 a.m. April 8, or after 5,000 applications have been submitted.

A group of 25 grant winners will be selected from the 500 recipients to be awarded $30,000  Enhancement Grants, which will allow the business owners the opportunity “to create transformative change within their business and in their community.”

American Express and Main Street America created the Backing Small Businesses grant program in 2021 to help under-resourced and economically vulnerable small business owners recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An informational webinar will be held at noon, Wednesday, March 13. It’s open to both small-business owners and the Main Street leaders that support them, according to Main Street America.

For eligibility requirements and more information, visit mainstreet.org.


About this Contributor

Maureen Milliken

Maureen Milliken is a contract reporter and content producer for consumer financial agencies. She has worked for northern New England publications, including the New Hampshire Union Leader, for 25 years, and most recently at Mainebiz in Portland, Maine. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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