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Grants Available to Minority, Women, and Veteran-Owned NKY Businesses

The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Duke Energy Foundation announced Wednesday that they are pairing up to offer $75,000 in grants to local minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses.

The NKY Small Business Grants for Minority-, Women- and Veteran-Owned Businesses will fund grants in varying amounts up to $10,000 to small businesses adversely affected by COVID-19. Applications, accepted now through Tuesday, August 31, are open to qualifying companies with 50 employees or less that are Duke Energy customers in Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton and Pendleton counties.

“Duke Energy is committed to helping our local business customers recover. We remain steadfast in our efforts to help small businesses that were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those owned by people of color, immigrants, women and veterans,” said Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky President Amy Spiller. “With these grants, we hope to help these businesses with much-needed support to continue to operate and find success in recovery.”

To be considered a minority-owned business, a company must be at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by at least one Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic or Native American individual. Women-owned businesses must be at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled by one or more women and a woman must lead the company’s day-to-day activities. Veteran-owned businesses are defined as at least 51% of the business must be directly and unconditionally owned by one or more veterans or service-disabled veterans.

Applicants are asked to demonstrate how, if awarded a grant, they will use the funds to provide relief to their organization and/or assist with future growth and development of their team, product or service. In addition, applicants will need to share something unique about their organization or service that sets them apart from others applying.

More than 160 businesses applied for the first round of the NKY Small Business Grants for minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses in July 2020, with 17 local businesses receiving assistance.

Leisa Mulcahy, Managing Director of GROW NKY and Vice President of Workforce at the NKY Chamber, says the grant will give underserved businesses in the region the chance to not just survive, but thrive.

“We recognize the importance of small business recovery from the adverse impact of COVID-19 on our local economy. These grants are an intentional effort to support underserved businesses in our region by providing resources to rebound,” said Mulcahy. “We look forward to expanding on the impact the first round of NKY Small Business Grants had last year on the 17 companies to many more small minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses across our region. We are grateful to Duke Energy Foundation for their ongoing generous support to the recovery of our economy and community.”

NKY Chamber Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee Co-Chair, and Community and Citizenship Manager for Turner Construction Company, Kristen Smitherman-Voltaire agrees.

“Northern Kentucky has made tremendous strides with major corporations investing in our region, the ongoing revitalization of our riverfront and innovation in major industries. It is essential however, we ensure everyone, especially those most affected by system inequities, has the access and support necessary to reach the full potential our region possesses,” said Smitherman-Voltaire. “These grants are evidence of Duke Energy’s shared belief in this vision of our region and a shining example of why Northern Kentucky is poised to deliver on that potential.”

For more information and to apply for a NKY Small Business Grant for minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses, visit nkychamber.com/SmallBizGrant.

-Staff report