The Truist Foundation and MIT Solve have launched the “Inspire Awards” program to identify innovative nonprofit-driven solutions that provide support to grow, develop, and sustain racially diverse and/or women-led small businesses in the U.S.
Applications are now being accepted with the deadline of May 13. In announcing the program, the two organizations wrote: “We welcome bold solutions with transformational potential that span across a range of challenges faced by small business owners.” Those include:
- Connecting small business owners and key stakeholders such as investors, local policymakers, and mentors with the relevant experience to improve coordination, collaboration, and knowledge bases within the small business ecosystem;
- Advocating for and shaping policy that supports small business owners and/or place-based efforts in their geographic areas, including increased access to resources, removal of structural barriers, and access to infrastructure (i.e., broadband);
- Offering focused guidance/professional development for building specific functional skills for internal staff such as strategic planning, human resources, process improvement, and research and testing products/services;
- Assisting with access to capital, capital campaigns, and/or financial education and information; and
- Supporting and fostering growth to scale through comprehensive and relevant technical support assistance such as legal aid, fiscal management for sustainability, marketing, and procurement.
More details can be found here.