Black Business Association of Memphis offering grants to some businesses impacted by COVID-19

Updated: Oct. 7, 2020 at 5:30 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Black Business Association of Memphis is distributing funds received from the City of Memphis for personal care professionals impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have the express opportunity to distribute upwards of over $1 million in CARES Act funding, and this is for personal care support workers,” said Mark Yates, President and CEO of the Black Business Association of Memphis.

Eligible applicants include barbers, cosmetologists, nail technicians, massage therapists, hair braiders, personal trainers, makeup artists and estheticians.

The funds will be given out in $300 increments.

Yates says the need is great.

“Black businesses based upon the 2012 census locally in Memphis would have between $250 billion and upwards of $1.2 billion, but we know that that number is actually more than the higher end of that range,” he said.

Local entrepreneurs like Jennifer Purnell say they’re grateful for the support during this time.

“Even now still being in Phase 2 we can operate in no more than 50% capacity. So for us, we’re actually doing private and semi-private appointments,” she said.

Purnell is the owner of September Nail Salon which had to close for two months during the pandemic. She says she’s had to cut salaries as a result of slower business.

Local makeup artist Nikki Chanel can relate.

“Coming out of February 2020 into my prom and graduation season and then, all of a sudden, the season just snatched away,” Chanel said.

Chanel says business picked back up immediately, but some entrepreneurs are still struggling.

Grants will be distributed in a first come first serve basis until funds run out.

Applicants must apply online and provide documentation of job loss or reduction of hours due to the pandemic.

To learn more and apply, click here.

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