By Stephen Collier
Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced the extended application date for its new Community Navigator Pilot Program.
The SBA will now accept proposal submissions through July 23, and anticipates making award decisions by September.
This new initiative, established by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will leverage a community navigator approach to reach our nation’s smallest businesses, with a priority focus on those owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, as well as women and veterans.
“As SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman reinforces, we have to meet small businesses where they are. This program is designed to empower a hyperlocal approach through a national network of community navigators who are on the ground truly connecting, empathizing and tailoring solutions for our small businesses during critical recovery,” said Mark Madrid, SBA associate administrator for the Office for Entrepreneurial Development. “This bold effort underscores our agency’s commitment to advance equity and bolster an ecosystem in which small businesses continue to apply for the diverse suite of SBA resources, services and/or programs throughout various stages of business recovery, growth, scale and/or maturity.”
The Community Navigator Program will have a significant impact in revitalizing small businesses through a “Hub and Spoke” “Navigator” featuring a lead “Hub” — at the center of a network of “Spoke” organizations that deploy trusted community advocates to work with small businesses during recovery. These networks leverage the business development expertise of the central hub organization and the community credibility of spoke organizations to better connect critical resources with small businesses, with the priority focus on those owned by women, veterans and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period. Applicants have until July 23 to submit their applications at grants.gov, Funding Opportunity Number CNP-2021-01. Performance periods are projected to commence in September. Those eligible to apply must meet and demonstrate abilities to support requirements of this funding opportunity.
For more information on the Community Navigators Initiative, visit www.sba.gov/navigators.