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Community Ventures awarded $135,000 for Appalachian businesses impacted by COVID-19

Community Ventures will receive a financial boost from the Appalachian Community Capital (ACC) in partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) for a new project targeted at small town businesses impacted by the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.

ACC awarded $3.56 million in grants under an Emergency Business Response Assistance Program to strengthen and stabilize 31 Regional Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) along with other mission-driven development finance leaders serving small businesses impacted by COVID-19 related losses. Community Ventures was awarded $135,000 for operational support and direct technical assistance to Appalachian small businesses and nonprofit borrowers.

“At a time when Applachia – like the rest of the country – is addressing the challenges of both a health and economic crisis, I’m grateful to ARC for its continued leadership in supporting small businesses and community development finance lenders,” said Donna Gambrell, ACC President and CEO. “The grants are a significant boost in helping these lenders stabilize their operations and assist their small business clients during the COVID-19 emergency and once the Region emerges from this crisis.”

Community Ventures will use these funds to provide ongoing technical assistance, as well as marketing support to businesses owners impacted by COVID-19. Since the outbreak forced Kentucky businesses to temporarily close or drastically reduce operations, Community Ventures’ Business Development Specialists have been reaching out business owners to offer support and resources to help them get through the crisis.

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“The grant, in part, will allow us to build out hyper-local solutions that bridge the gap for small businesses to compete with literally thousands of vendors that might be in their marketplace,” said Lowell Sellards, Business Development Specialist for Community Ventures. “All the while, we will help them realize the uniqueness of their shops and communities while providing additional streams of revenue. The focus will be on the business and the people, not just the products they sell.

“We will be able to provide technical assistance training for small business owners in the Appalachian region to assist in the stabilization of operations and retention of employees without adding an additional consulting expense to the small business owner.”

In Bourbon County, CV staff have worked with various businesses to help them adjust their business model to support delivery, curbside pick-up and online sales. CV has also provided product photography for businesses with websites and shot commercial advertisements for businesses to share on social media.

In just a few short months, local businesses have seen significant increases in recovered revenue as a result of these new operations. As a result, CV is now looking to expand these services to a broader range of businesses throughout the Appalachian regions of Kentucky.

From Community Ventures

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