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SBA launches  $100M ‘Community Navigator Pilot’ Program application

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that it is accepting applications for its new Community Navigator Pilot Program.

This new initiative, established by the American Rescue Plan, 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, the agency noted.

SBA will accept applications through July 12, 2021 and anticipates making award decisions by August 2021, the agency announced.

“Under the community navigator approach, traditional business assistance organizations [“Hubs”] enlist trusted, culturally knowledgeable partners [“Spokes”] to conduct targeted outreach to specific sectors of the entrepreneurial community which need SBA resources the most during this critical time of recovery,” said Josué E. Rivera, district director of the SBA’s Puerto Rico & US Virgin Islands region.

“This program provides district offices with an opportunity to more fully engage with specific sectors of the entrepreneurial community that may not have been engaged before,” he said.

“If you have existing relationships, this may be an opportunity to deepen or expand those relationships. To better understand the navigator approach, the SBA issued an Information Notice that offers advice and guidance on best practices for adopting the Hub and Spoke model,” he said.

“It’s a competitive award and we encourage nonprofits, resource partners, and state and local government to apply,” Rivera said.

Selected partners will engage in targeted outreach for small businesses in underserved communities to help small businesses get the resources and support they need to get back on track as the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Competitive grant awards will range from $1 million to $5 million for a two-year performance period.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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