Kinetic Business by Windstream is offering grants to Black-owned businesses within its service area. The Black Business Support Fund aims to support this traditionally underserved group by providing financial support and free internet service.
About the Kinetic Black Business Support Fund Grant
The network and connectivity solutions provider originally launched the Black Business Support Fund back in 2020. To date, the company has given more than $300,000 to Black-owned businesses.
For this latest round of funding, eligible businesses may receive grants of up to $2,500, along with a year of free internet and a free business consultation to go over other potential efficiency improvements.
To qualify, businesses must be located in a market that Kinetic serves. This includes areas in 18 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas. Companies can be already in business or just starting up. But you must be a Kinetic broadband internet customer.
Other eligibility requirements include:
- Being Black-owned
- Having 25 or fewer employees
- Being a for-profit business
- Being in an eligible industry (this excludes businesses like liquor stores, gun shops, and check-cashing businesses)
- Not being in bankruptcy proceedings
Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. And applying doesn’t guarantee that a business will receive funds.
Supporting Black-Owned Businesses
The overall goal of the fund is to increase the number of Black-owned businesses within Kinetic’s service footprint. The program also aims to make existing Black-owned businesses more stable.
Lorenzo Clark, Vice President of Inside Sales for Kinetic and president of the Windstream Black Professional Network Committee, said in a statement when the program first launched, “In a typical year, black business owners are rejected for loans from traditional sources two and half times more often than Caucasian business owners. We want to do our part to stabilize this important economic sector in the communities we serve.”
More specifically, a recent McKinsey study found that just 47 percent of Black business owners who requested loans were approved, compared with 75 percent of white business owners who made similar requests. Additionally, 27 percent of the Black business owners rated the financial health of their business as either “poor” or “terrible.” But just 11 percent of other business owners rated their finances this poorly.
Essentially, financial resources have long been more difficult to come by for Black-owned businesses. So programs like this one aim to level the playing field. Since both new and existing businesses can apply, the program may both increase the number of viable business opportunities and the health of those that are already running but potentially struggling.
How to Apply for a Kinetic Black Business Support Fund Grant
Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria are welcome to apply for the Black Business Support Fund now. The program will remain open until funds have been exhausted. To apply, current Kinetic Business customers can call (866) 445-5930 to start the application process. The company will walk applicants through each step from there.
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