SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--SmartBiz Loans®, the leading online bank network for SBA loans, has awarded four small businesses $1000 each from the “SmartBiz Boost a Small Business in Need Grant Program.” Winners include: Zeallous and Brandi Lanee Events in San Francisco as well as The Original New Orleans Po-Boy and Gumbo and Luv Fats Ice Cream in Austin.
The small businesses were selected from a pool of entrepreneurs who applied and met requirements that include having less than 50 employees and a valid business license, being owned by an entrepreneur of color, and operating for at least one year.
Evan Singer, CEO of SmartBiz Loans, says, “At SmartBiz, we understand the playing field is not level for all small business owners. These grants demonstrate our continued commitment to minority-owned businesses and the intent is to help these entrepreneurs rebuild during the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”
Zeallous Music, a San Francisco based company, is the recipient of a one thousand dollar grant from SmartBiz Loans. The business provides social media consulting, live stream assistance, and many affordable services for local independent musicians looking to break into the music industry. Owner Elijah Collins describes how his company has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. “There have been major losses in the music industry in the last six months, due to social distancing restrictions and guidelines. Local music has already suffered from bar, venue, and event space closings. However, these obstacles have provided Zeallous with a huge opportunity to help build a digital community.” He plans to use the grant funds to invest in Zeallous, shore up digital offerings, pursue partnerships, and continue serving the indie music community.
Brandi Lanee Events, located in San Francisco, is also a grant recipient. Because of COVID-19, owner Brandi Griffin has been unable to conduct business as large events have been banned. The business has lost past and potential revenue. Griffin says, “This grant will help us pivot our services to a scaled down offering for smaller single person events. We are now offering prepackaged items needed for an individual to setup their own personal celebration.”
The Original New Orleans Po-Boy and Gumbo was chosen from a pool of applicants in Austin. Owner Darold Gordon runs the restaurant and offers diners Cajun fare along with live, local music. He says, “To be a Black minority business owner is a good feeling. When I was a kid I used to dream of owning my own business. With hard work and faith, dreams do come true.” He’ll use the funds to pay utilities to keep his business operating.
The 2nd Austin business to receive grant funds is Luv Fats Ice Cream, run by 25-year-old entrepreneur Chi Ndika. She sells small-batch homemade ice cream at local farmer’s markets with an avocado and coconut milk base that is flavored with fresh produce, nuts, and herbs. She says,” “My goal is to encourage people around me to shop local to build the economy. Being a Black business owner has taught me to be resilient, determined, and knowledgeable. I want to share that with others.” She’ll put the funds towards new equipment to help expand.
To further support small businesses during these challenging economic times, the SmartBiz team has helped its partner banks process thousands of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans over the last 5 months. SmartBiz is now working with partner banks to help businesses apply for PPP loan forgiveness as well as additional needed capital. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) created PPP loans to provide short-term, economic relief to small businesses across America.
ABOUT SMARTBIZ LOANS
SmartBiz Loans® (www.smartbizloans.com) is the #1 online platform for traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350,000 helping banks and their clients streamline the SBA and small business lending process. SmartBiz has helped banks on the platform process more than $4 billion in PPP, SBA 7(a) and bank term loans serving over 20,000 businesses and supporting 300,000 jobs.
SmartBiz Loans is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2009 by a team of experienced financial services entrepreneurs with backing from leading venture capital firms including Venrock, Investor Growth Capital, First Round Capital, Baseline Ventures, and Uncork Capital. Learn more at www.smartbizloans.com.