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BDCC offers webinar, technical assistance for BIPOC-owned businesses

BRATTLEBORO—The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC) will host a business resiliency and technical assistance webinar for self-identified BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) and minority-owned businesses.

The free webinar on Thursday, Jan. 21, from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. will focus on identifying inclusive and welcoming sources of technical assistance, providing greater access to local lenders, and providing an invitation and introduction to future BDCC and other business support programs.

It will also include an overview of relevant provisions in the Economic Aid Act, Congress’s most recently passed COVID-19 recovery legislation, which includes a second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a potentially forgivable loan designed to offset payroll costs for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

A first round of relief funding was made available throughout the country last spring. Recent reports show that communities with a greater number of BIPOC and minority-owned businesses received half as many PPP loans as those that are predominantly white.

Here in Vermont, a report by the Vermont Partnership for Fairness and Diversity cites a lack of support and engagement from business development organizations with BIPOC business leaders as a possible reason for these disparities.

According to the report, the launch of the Vermont COVID Recovery Grant program saw 1,700 women-owned businesses apply on the first day, while it took “nearly a week for the first couple of hundred BIPOC businesses to learn of the program and apply.” Had significant funding not been set aside specifically for BIPOC businesses, many could have been denied support altogether; it took a month for all $2.5 million in funding to be applied for and distributed.

To help address this inequitable access to business support, BDCC will dedicate additional time and resources to support the resiliency of these local businesses.

Webinar participants will receive lists of technical assistance providers with expertise in COVID-19 relief programs, meet representatives from local banking institutions that manage COVID and non-COVID lending programs, and learn more about BDCC Business Resiliency, entrepreneurism, and business growth programs.

All self-identified BIPOC or minority business owners or managers, and those committed to creating space and equitable economic opportunity for these community members, are welcome to attend. Visit the Events section at brattleborodevelopment.com for more information and to register.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #596 (Wednesday, January 20, 2021).

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