Nearly 200 small businesses received first-round funding under the city of Charlotte’s Access to Capital Small Business Recovery program, officials announced Wednesday.

The program, designed to assist small businesses impacted by the economic shutdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, awarded grants totaling $2.16 million to 195 Charlotte companies – businesses that span a range of industries, including restaurants, convenience stores, florists, and hair salons.

The city partnered with Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC) to launch the program, which will distribute a total of $30 million in federal CARES Act funding. The deadline for submitting an application is 5 p.m. on July 31.

Giovy Buyers, owner of Southern Blossom Florist, said his business received a $10,000 grant from the program.

“In March, when Gov. Cooper issued the shelter in place order for all non-essential businesses, I was forced to close my doors,” he said in a statement. “As the pandemic wore on, I saw all of my summer events cancel.”

Buyers said his business fell behind two months in rent payment. He said he would use the money to pay vendors and get caught up.

Julie Eiselt, Charlotte’s mayor pro tem, said small businesses are “the lifeblood of our local economy,” and she encouraged other qualifying businesses to apply.

“The Access to Capital Small Business Recovery program is one of the best tools available to provide vital resources,” Eislet said in a statement.

The program is part of the city’s Open for Business initiative and is making grants of either $10,000 or $25,000, depending on the number of employees.

To qualify, a small business must:

  • Be headquartered within the Charlotte city limits
  • Employ 25 or fewer employees (including part-time, if reported on company’s W-3)
  • Have been established before Jan. 1, 2020
  • Have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Have gross sales for 2019 of at least $30,000 and less than $2 million
  • Not be currently engaged in bankruptcy proceedings.

Applications are selected randomly by a software program for review, meaning those submitted earlier will have a statistically higher chance of being selected.

Officials said the number of applicants will likely exceed the available funding.

Priority will be given to businesses that have not received federal or state Covid-19 financial support or funding from the City’s Micro Business Relief Fund.

Applications for the grants program are available at

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Founder and publisher of Qcitymetro, Glenn has worked at newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Wall Street Journal and The Charlotte Observer.

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