WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – More than $200,000 in grants is up for grabs, and Black business owners are encouraged to apply.

Girard Newkirk is co-founder of Genesis Block, a community-based business that helps develop entrepreneurs, small business and connect them with stakeholders.

“I think traditionally why they miss these opportunities is there’s a disconnect with getting the information to the black owned businesses,” said Newkirk. “It’s been a lot of federal money, state money, and there’s no federal locations her in Wilmington.”

More avenues should be created to get this type of information to Black-owned businesses more efficiently through information sharing, according to Newkirk.

According to Newkirk, African-Americans are responsible for about than 2.5 million businesses in the United States, and generate about $180B (billion) in revenue.

“The purchasing power of African-Americans is about 1.2T (trillion dollars), so, it points to an opportunity in small business and in entrepreneurship,” he said.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue plans to launch the second phase of its Business Recovery Grant Program on May 2, according to a news release.

That is something entrepreneur Newkirk says is much needed.

“So, we think this could be really positive, especially for the African-American community,” he said.

More businesses will qualify because of a change in the programs’ eligibility requirements.

Genesis Block’s education coordinator Aariene Hansley said Black communities in Wilmington need.

“A lot of the businesses are over looked most of the time and don’t get as much support,” she said.  “I think they should take advantage of this, this is a great opportunity to get your business out there and thrive. ”

According to local business owner of Creators’ Print House Robert Flood – it starts with working capital and how to access it.

“The main thing we’ve all been looking at is trying to create some type of generational wealth,” he said.

It’s all about preparation, according to Flood.

“And that’s one of the things with a lot of businesses, having all your paperwork and stuff inline, so when stuff like this happens, you’re already ready,” he said.

North Carolina based businesses who suffered economic loss of a minimum of 20% during COVID-19 will qualify.

Restaurant owner Marteke Franks says he wasn’t shut out in the first phase of the BRG.

“I totally didn’t know about it. I was just informed about the second round and definitely will be applying for that,” he said.

The designated grant amount is a portion of economic loss shown by qualifying businesses or $500,000 – whichever is less.

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