Another barrier could be a lack of trust or fear that they will not be treated with respect or dignity. '
Working with those businesses and making them stronger can in turn lead to more jobs created in the city in the future, Alexander added.
Those hired as a result of the grant will operate as community navigators. They would be in charge of reaching out to and connecting with primarily minority business owners as well as those who operate in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.
Alexander said one organization that would receive money, if the grant is awarded, is 1159 South Community Development, which serves residents in Springfield’s south side.
That organization does not have paid employees and the grant money would allow it to hire or contract someone.
Grass roots organizations involved with the pilot program would receive between $50,000 to $100,000 during the two-year period if the grant is awarded to the SBDC.
The SBDC would also be creating an additional position that would be in charge of coordinating those new community navigators.
The pilot program also seeks to build upon already established relationships and work being done by city grass roots organizations.
Alexander said that allows the SBDC to work with organizations already embedded in communities that his agency has traditionally had a tougher time reaching.
The new positions would work on pointing those entrepreneurs to resources offered by the SBDC that can also help them grow and sustain their businesses and eventually lead to more job growth.
Alexander said it also allows his agency to reach some businesses and entrepreneurs who have flown under the radar and as a result have not had access to federal relief money.
He said the goal is to also work on improving the amount of jobs created in those communities as well as access to capital.
The SBDC applied for the grant Friday and the Small Business Administration is hoping for those pilot programs to launch in October.
Alexander said the hope is if the program proves successful there will be more funding opportunities in the future in order to sustain it.