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Foundation For The Carolinas officially completed the first round of grant funding for Beyond Open, a $20 million effort to support “diverse-owned” small businesses in Charlotte. 

In total, Beyond Open will distribute $5.9 million to first-round grantees, with packages ranging from $5,000 to upwards of $250,000. Of the 3,200 businesses that applied for funding, 178 received awards. Organizers said the number of first-round applications far exceeded expectations.

Data released by the foundation show that 90% of first-round grant recipients identify as people of color, 72% are located near or within the city’s “corridors of opportunity,” 60% identify as women, 13% as LGBTQ, and 8% as veterans. 

One recipient, Gemini Boyd of the Black-led nonprofit organization Project Bolt, said the funds will help secure a workspace for his organization. “Without a location, you can’t connect to the community,” he said. 

Project Bolt offers youth mentoring, life skills training and second-chance programming for people post-incarceration.

Round two of the grant cycle will be announced by mid-2023, with a third round announced in 2024.

From the QCity Metro archives:

A $20 million grant program for minority-owned businesses is accepting applications

Amanda was born and raised in Charlotte and graduated from UNC Charlotte with a Bachelor’s in Communications and English. She covers Mecklenburg County. Reach her at

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