Two Charlottesville businesses receive grants from United Way, Minority Business Alliance partnership

Updated: May. 3, 2020 at 9:52 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A new partnership giving out grants to minority businesses in Charlottesville disbursed its first two awards last week. Two up-and-coming small businesses got a game changing gift that represents more than just keeping the lights on.

Vu Noodles and The Tax Ladies were each the recipients of $5000 grants given out by The United Way of Greater Charlottesville and the city’s Minority Business Alliance. The partnership aims to address long-standing challenges facing companies owned by minorities in the area.

“Being able to have access to assets is more challenging in the minority community," United Way of Greater Charlottesville President Ravi Respeto said. "Sometimes it’s hard to attain a loan at an interest rate that’s really going to be advantageous for a small company that’s just starting.”

The partners say the problem goes beyond just being able to access money.

“The need for access, access to capital is of absolute importance for the minority business community," Minority Business Alliance Chair Quinton Harrell said. "Just a wrapping up of how we collaborate with one another this community also plays a part in building wealth.”

The partnership was first formed last year, long before the pandemic that has jeopardized so many small businesses. For the first two businesses that were awarded the grants, they couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’re able to put $10,000 aside and two grants for $5000 apiece,” Respeto said. "Through this first grant process, we’re really excited because The Tax Ladies was able to get a grant and also Vu Noodles.”

Respeto says the grants will help the two companies immediately. Vu Noodles has out-grown its current space, and is opening a new kitchen. The Tax Ladies are replacing their out-dated server with a new one.

“Our hope is that this will continue to grow but also create more awareness of the importance of the investment in minority business community," Harrell said.

The partnership hopes to continue awarding grants in future years. United Way hopes that the grant process will grow with the help of the community, the Charlotesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and its members.

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