Cash grants totaling $1.4 million have been awarded to a number of Bronx small businesses that have struggled during the pandemic, a coalition of business groups announced Tuesday.
The financial assistance was raised and disbursed through the efforts of The Bronx Community Foundation, Bronx Business Improvement Districts and The New Bronx Chamber of Commerce.
Beyond providing cash, the business groups said their efforts to support small businesses across the Bronx have included helping restaurants set up outdoor and winterization dining structures, providing technical assistance to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans, and funding entrepreneurial success programs.
The business groups said they also are working with elected officials to strategize economic development in the Bronx.
Though New York City has provided several small business recovery grants, less than 1% of them went to Bronx establishments, according to the group. The majority of government aid has funneled into Manhattan, with the Bronx at the bottom of the receiving end out of all of the boroughs.
Desmon Lewis, co-founder of the Bronx Community Foundation, noted that before the pandemic, the borough was on track for successful economic growth. But in the last year, a lot of progress has been halted, making the need for local BID partnership necessary for the survival of Bronx commercial areas.
“The pandemic has challenged so many small businesses in our area, forcing many to close,” said Rajab Elsayed, owner of Raj’s Menswear in the South Bronx. “We are grateful for the funding support and also the continued services of the Bronx Community Foundation and Third Avenue BID. We know that we have someone in our corner to help us – this is important for all small businesses.”