On July 1st, 2021, the Small Business Administration announced an extended application date for its new small business grant program. Specifically known as the Community Navigator Pilot Program, the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act established the $100 million funding opportunity. Additionally, in January 2021, the SBA extended the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program applications deadline for small businesses.

Purpose of the Community Navigator Pilot Program

Generally, the new small business grant program will leverage a community navigator approach to reach the nation’s smallest businesses. Another key point of the program includes a primary focus on businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Additionally, the SBA has prioritized enterprises owned by women and veterans for possible funding.

How the Program Works

Overall, the Community Navigator Program will revitalize small businesses through a Hub and Spoke “Navigator” approach. Markedly, a lead “hub” is at the center of a network of “spoke” organizations. Subsequently, the spoke organizations deploy trusted community advocates to work with the small business grant program during recovery. Moreover, the SBA feels this approach better leverages the business development expertise of the central hub organization. Likewise, the community credibility of spoke organizations allows them to connect critical resources with small businesses better. By and large, the priority focus is on businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.

Stages of the Small Business Grant Program

In conclusion, the competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period. Presently, applicants have until July 23rd, 2021, to submit their applications at grants.gov, Funding Opportunity Number CNP-2021-01. However, it is crucial to note who these “applicants” could be. Specifically, for this stage of the funding process, applicants are those considered “spoke” organizations. These organizations would provide outreach for the small businesses in need. Accordingly, the following organizations are allowed to apply for this grant program funding:

  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • County governments
  • City or township governments
  • State governments
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)

Funding announcements are to take place in September 2021. After that, small business owners should consult with local institutions that fall in the categories listed above for grant opportunities.