CEO in North Philly aims to disburse $200 million for small businesses affected amid COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- So far the year 2020 has been a strain for most businesses.

While the effects of the pandemic still linger, one North Philadelphia company aims to save as many small businesses through $200 million worth of grant capital.

"Part of the Cares Act from the federal government, they gave the state $4 billion," said Dr. Kenneth Scott, president & CEO, of the Beech Companies.

Under the Beech Companies is Beech Capital, a community development financial institution in charge of providing these funds for minority-owned small business owners who are struggling amid the pandemic.

Scott says the grants range from $5,000 to $50,000 based off need.

"These resources are always virtual because most of these small businesses lack the capital, to begin with," said Scott. "Don't forget that eight out of ten small businesses are going to go under with in the first few years of start-up."

Scott says trying to keep these businesses running is important to the city's economy. Unlike PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans, Scott says these grants are not distributed on a first come first serve bases.

Instead, through a carefully evaluated process with him and his staff, based on need and qualification.

Founded 30 years ago in the heart of North Philly, Scott says he and his team looks to play their role, in helping rebuild the city one business at a time.

"Our goal is to get this money in their hands from this grand program, but also make these relationships," said Scott." Know that we're here as a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institutions.) No large bank is going to do that. Actually sit with you, and go through this process. But we will do that."

Scott says the first $100 million is set to go to historically disadvantaged businesses beginning next week. Even if not selected the first go around, Scott encourages affected business owners to still apply.

Once approved by the state, Scott says the second half of the $200 million will be distributed to those qualifying individuals who didn't receive any funding amid the first distribution.

To apply, visit them on their website to complete an application here.
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