Verizon gives $10K grant to help minority businesses in the Charlotte area

$10,000 earmarked to help small companies make it through the coronavirus pandemic

Verizon gives $10K grant to help minority businesses in the Charlotte area

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - As the economy continues to wind down many small business owners are looking for help anywhere they can get it. For a select few in Charlotte help came in the form of a $10,000 grant from Verizon.

“Why don’t we just try it? And I was the chosen one.” giggled Porchia Rice, the owner of Klassy Stylez salon near Uptown. She just found out she won a grant for ten grand when we called her Monday afternoon to tell her the good news.

“Now that you told me I’m getting it when am I getting it?” Rice said just before letting out a booming laugh.

Rice says she was thumbing through Instagram a couple of weeks ago when she came across an ad about a grant giveaway from Verizon.

“It’s not gonna hurt nothing let me just try it and see,” she said.

After filing a few forms, she was one of seven companies in the Charlotte market to be selected out of 55,000 nationwide applicants. The money, earmarked for mostly minority-owned companies, is to help them through the financial struggle during the coronavirus pandemic.

Katie Davis is the manager of social impact strategies for Verizon.

“Looking at those small businesses that traditionally don’t have as much access to capital and hoping to find a way to support them through this grants program," she said.

So far, $2.5 million have been put into the program, helping out other Charlotte-area businesses like Taylor Interiors.

Janet Francis is the office manager for the company. “Everything that came around I was attempting to fill out and get some help.”

Francis is person who filled out the paperwork for the grant. She tell us the bills don’t stop coming just because the economy slows down. She says this really helps with the bottom line.

“Being a small business you want to keep your payroll going." said Francis. "Because you’re an essential worker you have to keep that payroll.”

Back over at Klassy Stylez, Rice is getting ready for her grand opening in a couple of weeks. She says while she appreciates the money from Verizon, she does have one little concern.

“I also thought, well I don’t even have a Verizon phone. Should I fill this out because I’m with AT&T?" she said with a wide grin.

This was the first round of applications Verizon has taken. The second round has already closed. But if you’d like to get in the third and final round you can submit your application here https://www.lisc.org/covid-19/small-business-assistance/small-business-relief-grants/verizon-small-business-recovery-fund/.

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