Image from homepage of San Diego Ethnic Chambers of Commerce.
Image from homepage of San Diego Ethnic Chambers of Commerce. Image via

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, in partnership with minority business leaders, launched a public information campaign Monday to encourage Black, Asian and Hispanic small business owners to apply for grants from the County Relief Program for Small Businesses and Restaurants.

In Fletcher’s district, $3.4 million in funds is available for small businesses, stemming from a $34 million COVID-19 humanitarian stimulus package passed by the Board of Supervisors in May.

Each of the five San Diego County supervisors was given $3.4 million from the stimulus package to distribute to businesses in their districts.

Small businesses can apply here. Fletcher encouraged business operators to apply as soon as possible as funds are limited.

Businesses that apply and are selected will receive their grants in September, officials said.

Fletcher hosted a virtual event Monday morning where he announced his partnership with the Strategic Alliance, which includes the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Asian Business Association San Diego.

The supervisor spoke to the importance of minority small businesses, the economic strain the coronavirus pandemic has placed upon them and the work that he and the Strategic Alliance are doing to make sure minority businesses receive equitable funding.

“Small businesses strengthen our economy by creating jobs for people who live in the nearby communities, and provide goods and services that people from the neighborhood need,” Fletcher said. “We want these funds to get to those who need it most, and through this new partnership we will be able to make that happen. This is a continuation of our commitment to helping those with the greatest need during this pandemic.”

The funds within the County Relief Program for Small Businesses and Restaurants are available to all small businesses, but the partnership will ensure an equitable distribution of these resources, according to Fletcher.

To qualify businesses must have: 100 or fewer employees, be headquartered in San Diego County, have a minimum one-year operating history as of Feb. 14 and have documentation of financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Jason Paguio, president and CEO of the Asian Business Association San Diego, spoke to the specific challenges minority small business face amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many of our small businesses face greater obstacles to recovery which are amplified by cultural and language barriers and historic race and ethnic policy decisions and location trades,” Paguio said. “We are thankful to work with Supervisor Fletcher to address systemic policy decisions that have left many businesses and communities of color behind, particularly during a public health crisis.”

The grant applications are available in English, Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese and Spanish, according to the supervisor. Videos, posters and fliers will also be released throughout the county in each language to let business owners know about the available funds and how to apply.

— City News Service