The City of New Bedford has announced the fourth investment funded through American Rescue Plan Act funds, this one focusing on assisting small businesses.

On Friday, Mayor Jon Mitchell and City officials announced that they are requesting responses from local non-profit organizations that are “interested in supporting small businesses by managing federal funds to provide targeted grants and technical assistance.”

“New Bedford-based nonprofit organizations may apply to manage ARPA funds on the City’s behalf to not only help small businesses affected by the pandemic, but also to grow the City’s economy,” the City said in a release. “Nonprofit support can include targeted grants, technical assistance, counseling, and business planning services, along with capital expenses such as business incubation space in eligible areas, rehabilitation of commercial properties, and COVID-19 mitigation measures.”

It’s called the Small Business Assistance Program, and it is the fourth announcement of ARPA funding by the City since the city council voted to accept the $64.7 million in federal COVID relief funds back on March 24. The first was an increase to the Enhanced Facade Improvement Program announced on March 29, the second was support for large-scale, shovel-ready housing projects with affordable units announced on April 1, and the third was support for an increase in childcare and early education opportunities in the City announced on April 15.

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“Facilitating direct support for local small businesses through qualified, experienced nonprofits will kickstart growth and economic resurgence,” Mayor Mitchell said. “This program will generate jobs and strengthen connections in our nonprofit and business communities.”

The release stated that the program is “designed to be forward-looking and accelerate local business development as the City emerges from the pandemic, rather than compensate for business losses from COVID.”

“The Small Business Assistance Program will have the effect of aligning business and purpose, as New Bedford-based nonprofit organizations will provide support to small businesses while they regain their footing, leading to profitability and a rebound in our City’s economy,” said Ward 5 City Councilor Scott Lima, chair of the council’s redevelopment committee.

For more information or to apply, visit the City of New Bedford’s ARPA website.

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