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Grants & Lending Programs for Women and Minority-Owned Business Leaders

As a business owner, it’s not unusual to have a lot on your plate. The pressures of leading a business sometimes make it difficult to look at things past your daily to-do list. But as a female or minority business owner, did you realize you could be passing up on financial opportunities?

 

There are several grants and lending programs available through CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions) and related organizations that provide lending specifically to minority and female-owned companies and small businesses. Here are a few you should know about:

 

5B Small Business Grant

As of April 23, the Small Business Administration has been giving out an additional $5 billion in grants to businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. These are available to businesses even if they already took advantage of the EIDL Advance from March-April 2020. Find out who qualifies here.

Let JUSTLAW Help you Apply

 

Finance Justice Fund

Opportunity Finance Network selects CDFIs that work towards financial justice in underserved communities. These include businesses that primarily cater to Native, Black, Latinx, and other communities that have historically experienced hardships. Terms and applications can be found here. Small businesses seeking financing can find out more here.

black and minority business grants

 

Grow With Google Small Business Fund

The Grow With Google Small Business Fund was established during the COVID-19 crisis to help minority and women-owned businesses reach their financial goals. This fund works with both for-profit and non-profit institutions.

 

Google.org Grant Program

The Google.org Grant Program is providing grants to underserved communities during unprecedented times. Grant Program 1 will be awarding $125,000 grants to 28 CDFIs working with women and minority-owned businesses in underserved communities, including nonprofits. Grant Program 2 will be awarding grants ranging from $125,000 to $500,000 to CDFIs with a focus on those that serve Black-owned businesses.

 

Native CDFI Awards

The Native CDFI Catalyst Award picks one Native CDFI to provide a $100,000 grant based on plans and strategy via an application process. The Native CDFI Seed Capital provides a $25,000 grant through an application process based on potential. Find both applications here and more information about previous winners here.

 

Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program

The Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital Program works with CDFIs that serve diverse small businesses, with the end goal of increasing lending to these small businesses. Find out more here.

 

 

Unfortunately, applying for the various programs and grants and managing the process thereafter can be extremely complicated and time-consuming. Fortunately, JUSTLAW is here to help. With any of our paid annual memberships, we provide free assistance in applying for these programs and managing the application process.

 

But the benefits don’t stop there. All company owners can benefit from an affordable prepaid monthly legal plan from JUSTLAW. A plan like this can help you identify, mitigate and manage legal risk, seize new opportunities and provide you with round-the-clock legal peace of mind. Protect your small business as it grows with this simple long-term investment.

 

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Covid-19 Vaccine, the Employers Perspective

It was only about a year ago that our pre-pandemic world changed, and employers everywhere sat up and took notice. Before March of 2020, going to work used to mean having a cup of coffee with a colleague and talking about the day. Good employees made every effort to get to work on time and do their job well. Good employers ensured their employees were safe and treated fairly. This was according to the brick-and-mortar business model we all took for granted. Then, Covid -19 hit the world.

At that point, all the rules seemed to change. A lot of confusion ensued about what was allowed and what was required. Vaccines became available and with them, a myriad of information. What was right to do? What was safe to do? What was legal? One of the biggest questions was about rights surrounding the vaccine. Did an employer have the right to require the vaccine for its workers? If an employer did not require it, could they face legal ramifications?

While this situation seemed uncertain and chaotic, the answer to this question was straightforward. Federal law states that employers do not have to require their workers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine because the vaccines are not licensed by the Food and Drug Administration. This means that employers can encourage employees to get the vaccine, but everyone has the option to accept or decline so they cannot require it.

Although this answer was straightforward, the issue of employer responsibility in the midst of Covid-19 is complex and multi-layered.

For example, while employers do not have to (and are not legally allowed to) require the vaccine, they do have to provide a safe working environment for all their workers. Employers have to show proof of providing reasonable accommodation for their employees such as remote work, protective gear, and social distancing. If these accommodations are not provided when there is a “direct threat”, then there could be legal trouble for the employer.

 

worker safety
Are you providing a safe working environment for your employees?

 

Under the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) describes the pandemic as a “direct threat” which is defined as “a significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.”

Evidence of providing reasonable accommodations is required and protects the employer. On the other hand, if reasonable accommodations present an undue hardship on the employer to run the business, then the employer can require the vaccine of its workers instead. This is where things get multi-layered.

This exception to the rule stands unless the employee has a medical reason not to have the vaccine. In this case the employer is required to provide reasonable accommodation for the employee and allow their employment to continue. In addition, religious beliefs preventing an employee from having the vaccine is a valid circumstance to not have it. In this case, the employee is protected by Title VII.

For an employer, liability exposure could come under ADA, Title VII, OSHA, or Tort Liability. With the ever-changing pandemic landscape, employers need to be constantly aware of new and evolving laws. The truth is this is not simple. Everything is still changing. It is also true that despite the world’s current situation, employers are not alone. There is help. For current guidance to employers, please read this CDC page.

 

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Speak to a JUSTLAW attorney today to initiate your first consultation and receive immediate advice as to whether to hire an employee or an independent contractor.

This post is not legal advice. It is for general informational purposes only. No reader should rely on this information in any way whatsoever without first seeking legal advice.