Applications Open For United Way’s Black-Owned Small Business Initiative | New Orleans CityBusiness

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Applications are currently being accepted by United Way of Southeast Louisiana (UWSELA) for its Thriving African American Small Business (TAASB) Initiative, which supports potentially increased earnings for local Black-owned small businesses.

Launched by the non-profit last year, the first TAASB cohort gave 13 participants from multiple organizations the chance to pitch their business proposals. The deadline for applications is March 22.

It produced upwards of $150,000 in immediate business capital via its exclusive development accounts. UWSELA then supplies a $10,000 match for advancement opportunities and business expenses subsequent to participants saving $2,000 and a seven-month period to fulfill commitments of the program.

The initiative helps participating organizations by combining a 5:1 matched development account with formal and informal methods of education on upgrading their earning potential, investing in their own businesses and communities and budgeting regulations, according to a news release.

“We are thrilled to launch the second cohort of the Thriving African American Small Business Initiative,” Michael Williamson, UWSELA president and CEO, said in a news release. “This program reflects our ongoing commitment to equity and economic empowerment. By investing in the success of Black-owned businesses, we are fostering a more inclusive and vibrant Southeast Louisiana for all.”

According to a news release, UWSELA has a competitive applicant selection process with precise requirements for participation. These include a 51% Black ownership in the business with operations since 2021, annual revenue between $75,000-$200,000, current office locations within Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa or Washington parishes, have filed 2022 and 2023 business taxes and are in good business standing with the state of Louisiana.

UWSELA selects qualified applicants and extends an invitation to join a meet-and-greet and an informational gathering with its team before advancing.

“The Thriving African American Small Business Initiative represents a significant step forward in our efforts to address economic disparities and promote entrepreneurship within the Black community,” Chiquita Lattimore, UWSELA senior vice president of community impact and financial capability, said in a news release. “By providing targeted support and resources, we are creating pathways to prosperity and long-term wealth-generating power.”

The initiative provides financial courses at local Prosperity Centers with expert support from the Urban League of Louisiana, chambers of commerce and financial institutions.

Visit for more information and to apply online.

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