Kinetic Business by Windstream offers grants to black-owned businesses within its service area. The Black Business Support Fund aims to support this traditionally underserved group through financial assistance and free internet service.
Through the Kinetic Black Business Support Fund Grant
The network and connectivity solutions provider originally created the Black Business Support Fund in 2020. To date, the company has donated more than $300,000 to black-owned businesses.
For this latest round of funding, eligible companies can receive grants of up to $2,500, along with a year of free internet and a free business consultation to discuss other potential efficiency improvements.
To qualify, companies must be in a market that Kinetic serves. This includes territories in 18 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas. Businesses may already be in business or just starting up. But you must be a Kinetic Broadband Internet customer.
Other admission requirements are:
- Be black owned
- Have 25 or fewer employees
- Be a for-profit company
- Belonging to an eligible industry (this excludes businesses such as liquor stores, gun stores, and check cashing businesses)
- Not in bankruptcy proceedings
Grants are awarded on a first come, first served basis. And applying does not guarantee that a company will receive funds.
Supporting black-owned businesses
The fund’s overall goal is to increase the number of black-owned businesses within Kinetic’s service footprint. The program also aims to make existing black-owned businesses more stable.
Lorenzo Clark, vice president of inside sales at Kinetic and president of the Windstream Black Professional Network Committee, said in a statement at the start of the program, “In a typical year, Black business owners are turned down for credit from traditional sources two and a half times more often than Caucasian business owners.” We want to do our part to help stabilize this important sector of the economy in the communities where we operate.”
More specifically, a recent McKinsey study found that only 47 percent of black business owners who applied for loans were approved, compared to 75 percent of white business owners who made similar applications. Additionally, 27 percent of black business owners rated their company’s financial health as either “poor” or “terrible.” But only 11 percent of other business owners rated their finances that poorly.
In essence, financial resources for black-owned businesses have long been harder to come by. So programs like this aim to create a level playing field. Since both new and existing companies can apply, the program can increase both the number of viable business opportunities and the health of those who are already operating but may be struggling.
How to apply for a grant from the Kinetic Black Business Support Fund
Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria can now apply to the Black Business Support Fund. The program will remain open until funds are exhausted. To apply, current Kinetic Business customers can call (866) 445-5930 to begin the application process. The company will guide applicants through each step from there.
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