The U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced late Friday that it has extended the application date for the “Community Navigator Pilot Program” from July 12 to July 23, and anticipates making award decisions by September 2021. Separately, the federal agency also announced late last week that it was closing the “Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF)” program. Both were established by the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The “Community Navigator Pilot Program” is designed to reach the nation’s smallest businesses, with a priority focus on those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals as well as women and veterans. The program will utilize a hub and spoke approach, drawing on the business development expertise of the central hub organization and the community credibility of spoke organizations to better connect critical resources with small businesses.
As described in this news release, competitive grant awards from the $100 million pool will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations; state, local, and tribal governments; and SBA resource partners who “will engage in targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities to help small businesses get the resources and support they need to get back on track as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
SBA noted that, as of June 30, the RRF program received more than 278,000 submitted eligible applications representing over $72.2 billion in requested funds, and approximately 101,000 applicants have been approved to restaurants, bars and other restaurant-type businesses. Underserved populations received approximately $18 billion in grant awards