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Mission statement: "To represent local employers in supporting vibrant,
sustainable communities in Columbia and Montour counties."

Grants of up to $5,000 Available to Small Business Owners

Partnering with Main Street America, American Express is launching a $1.65 million year-round grant program called Inclusive Banking. More than 250 grants of $5,000 each will be awarded in four cycles over 12 months to small business owners in older or historic commercial districts across the country, with priority given to businesses that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.  

Types of personal service-based small businesses that are eligible, but not limited to:

  • cleaners, tailors, beauty salons, spas, cobblers, barbers, and nail salons.
  • brick-and-mortar location in an older or historic main street, downtown or commercial district —businesses in strip malls, residences, and shopping malls not eligible
  • preference to: People of Color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people with disabilities, veterans, and women
  • been in operation since January 1, 2020.

What types of grant expenses are eligible?

  • The business must be a business entity in good standing in the state in which it was formed and the state in which it does business.
  • The applicant’s business has a “brick-and-mortar” location and operates in an older or historic main street, downtown or commercial district in the United States—businesses in strip malls, residences, and shopping malls are not eligible for this grant program.
  • The applicant’s business employs 20 or fewer full-time employees, including the owner.
  • The applicant’s business has been in operation since January 1, 2020.
  • The applicant is an owner of the business and is 18 years of age or older.  

All applications will be judged based on:

  • Feasibility of proposal.
  • Extent to which grant will help address an acute business need or help a business owner implement innovative solutions to address COVID-19-related challenges.
  • Opportunity for other businesses to learn from work.
  • How the Inclusive Backing grant will help improve the viability of business.
  • The business’s commitment to giving back to their community.

How to apply:

Click here to apply: It should take about 15-20 minutes to populate this form. As you work through it, the application will auto-save. Please note that the application deadline is March 1, 2022.

Please review the application questions in advance and keep a separate record of your answers, as your work will not be saved on the form prior to submission. They cannot accept changes to your application once it has been submitted, so please review it carefully. All non-public business and financial information provided in the application will be kept confidential.

Finalists considered for an award may be contacted by Main Street America for additional information, including financial statements, before being selected as a recipient.