Coronavirus relief: Oakland small businesses awarded grants to help during COVID-19 pandemic closures

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Dozens of small businesses in Oakland have been awarded grants as they struggle through the coronavirus pandemic.

$500,000, all from private donations, was distributed among 90 businesses. More than 900 applied and recipients included artists, gyms, and nail salons. To qualify, a small business owner had to be considered 'low-income.'

The City of Oakland teamed up with Working Solutions to distribute the funds. Working Solutions CEO Sara Razavi says the program especially helped business owners who may have found the application process for federal help daunting.

"Just thinking about the nail salon, Vietnamese-owned... an entrepreneur who really was grateful to access the grant despite limited English abilities. We were able to provide the service in the language of their access," said Razavi.

The City of Oakland provided other data on grant recipients:
  • 86% of the businesses are owned by people of color

  • 69% of the businesses are owned by women

  • 84% of the businesses generate less than $250,000 in annual revenue

  • 22% went to business owners that used a non-English application

  • 90% of the businesses rent their space

  • Working Solutions is a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution. You can find resources, or donate to the Oakland economic relief fund, on its website.

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