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Today the City of Hartford, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Capital for Change, and HEDCO, Inc., announced that the City and the Hartford Foundation are funding $800,000 in new grants to Hartford small businesses.  Earlier this year, those partners along with Bank of America and Travelers launched a $1.25 million Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, which helped 161 small businesses make lease or mortgage payments, pay salaries, invest in pandemic preparedness, and more. Seventy-two percent of businesses that received grants were owned by people of color, and forty-eight percent of businesses were owned by women. This $800,000 will go to businesses that applied for the first round of grants but did not receive them either because their applications were incomplete or funding ran out.  Mayor Luke Bronin also announced that the City will be sponsoring a third round of small business grants in the new year with $750,000 and is seeking partners to expand that funding.


“Small businesses employ our residents and are vital to the economic health and vitality of our community, and this new round of funding will help approximately one hundred more small businesses in this difficult time — with another round of grants coming in the new year,” said Mayor Luke Bronin.  “We hope these grants, which are between $5,000 and $10,000 each, will make a difference for Hartford businesses — but we also know that many small and medium-sized businesses need much more support. The federal government has been AWOL for months as small businesses across America face extinction, and we desperately need the federal government to step up.  I’m hopeful that the state will be able to get additional grants out the door soon, especially for restaurants, which have been among the hardest hit.  In the meantime, we will continue to do everything we can at the local level, and I am deeply grateful to Jay Williams and the Hartford Foundation, to Capital for Change, to SAMA and HEDCO, and to all of the partners who are essential parts of our effort to help keep Hartford’s small businesses alive.”


Hartford Foundation dollars will be allocated entirely to small businesses owned by persons of color and/or women, or businesses located in low-income neighborhoods in Hartford. This effort supports the Foundation’s strategic outcomes to support employment and wealth-building opportunities for persons of color and increase investment in Hartford neighborhoods. The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program was created to support small businesses that may have difficulty obtaining funding from other federal or state initiatives.


“Many small businesses in Hartford have already sustained large revenue losses since the beginning of the pandemic due to closures, decreased capacity and less traffic in the City,” said Hartford Foundation President Jay Williams. “While we continue to wait for Congress to enact another relief package, small business owners are facing a second wave of COVID-19 which will continue to place significant burdens on their businesses. We know that small businesses owned by women and people of color face particular challenges and often lack the capital they need to survive. We are pleased to be able to once again partner with the City of Hartford and other stakeholders to provide these businesses with a lifeline of support.”


“I have deep roots in the Hartford business community and I am so pleased to be part of this amazing effort,” said Cal Vinal, President and CEO of Capital for Change, which administers the grant program.


“As a selected Technical Assistance Provider we are proud to partner with The City of Hartford, Capital for Change, and the Hartford Foundation to implement the Emergency Small Business Program,” said Fernando G. Rosa, President and CEO of HEDCO, Inc., and Kim Hawkins, Vice President and COO of HEDCO, Inc.  “This is sorely needed aid and we are pleased to be a part of the effort.”