General Motors and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce today announced that 15 small businesses in Flint were awarded a total of $150,000 from the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program. It is the second round of grants from the GM-funded initiative, which supports revitalization efforts across the city’s neighborhoods by strengthening local businesses.
The grantees comprise a range of businesses, including: a hardware store, fitness facility, computer repair shop, a custom jewelry boutique, a bookstore, an online retailer, childcare facilities, restaurants, and personal and professional services. Of the grantees, 80 percent – 12 of the 15 – are minority-owned enterprises. To help address racial disparities in the community, GM had earmarked at least 10 of the grants for minority-owned businesses, as defined by race and ethnicity.
“We’re thrilled to extend our support of this innovative program into a second year,” said Terry Rhadigan, GM’s executive director of corporate giving. “The Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program is successful because it helps small businesses build resilience and create inclusive and sustainable solutions to common problems.”
“On behalf of our small business community and the people they employ, I again say thank you to General Motors for its investments in Flint and Genesee County,” said Chamber CEO Tim Herman. “The grants announced today will do much to strengthen Flint’s small-business sector, particularly for our minority-owned and neighborhood businesses.”
The Moving Flint Forward (MFF) grants must be used to support existing operations, such as financing expansion plans, making repairs and leasehold improvements, purchasing inventory and equipment, or making façade improvements.
The recipients are:
- The Historic Bryant’s Barbershop
- Cafe Rhema
- CompuNinjas (computer repair)
- Beauchamp Ace Hardware
- Curtis Accounting & Tax Services
- Flint Trading Company
- Bella LLC (a food truck)
- Prism Lacquers (an online nail polish retailer)
- Sal’s Gym LLC
- Yum Vittles
- Comma Bookstore & Social Hub
- A Kut Above Barbershop
- Sunny Patch Learning Center
- Sweet Tee’s Kid Spa
Technical assistance will be provided to assist with the implementation and tracking of grant activities to ensure requirements are met and businesses are using funds appropriately. Grantees will also be connected to resources to help bolster the capacity of their businesses beyond the grant period. Grantees will have access to networking opportunities and workshops on various topics, such as online digitization of services/goods, leadership styles, navigating access to capital, workers’ compensation and labor laws.
More than 80 businesses applied for this latest round, which was announced in December 2020. The applications were evaluated by a review panel comprised of representatives from GM, the Flint & Genesee Chamber, the City of Flint, local grant-making organizations, community organizations and a business owner who was a 2019 grant recipient. Grants were awarded on a competitive basis.
The program was open to anyone who owns and operates a small business within the city of Flint. The business could have up to 25 employees and could not be a franchise operation.
In December 2019, a different group of 15 small businesses in Flint were awarded a total of $150,000 from the grant program.
“From the capital investments in its automotive operations here to its corporate philanthropy that greatly impacts the lives of our residents and institutions, GM continues to be an invaluable corporate citizen and partner in our region’s progress,” said Herman.
More information about the Moving Flint Forward Small Business Grant Program is available at FlintandGenesee.org/Moving-Flint-Forward.